The Story of the Passion Fruit Flower

The first sketch of this exotic plant is from a pamphlet dated in1609. The Dominican monk Simone Parlasca sketched a passion fruit vine, emphasizing the symbols of Christ's passion we find in the flower.


When I was living in El Salvador and saw this flower for the first time I was mesmerized by its pink and purple beauty, color, and texture. I knew I needed to express it through art one day.

The fruit is eaten fresh or used in drinks, desserts, jams and ice creams. A friend of mine once made lemon bars but replaced the lemon with passionfruit juice. They tasted incredible! The roots and leaves of the passionflower were used by the South American Indians to make a tea with which they treated epilepsy, hysteria, and insomnia. This tincture even had properties that helped to soothe the pain.

I thought you might enjoy reading this poem about the passionfruit and I do hope you see one in person someday.

Catulo da Paixão Cearense,

a Brazilian poet

Finding myself with a backwoodsman

Near a foot of a passion fruit,

I asked him: Tell me, dear countryman,

Why was the passion flower born purple?

Now I will relate to you

The story that he told me.

The reason why the passion flower

Came to be purple.

The passion flower was once white

It could not be whiter,

Whiter than charity,

Whiter than the moonlight,

When the flowers bloomed in it

There in the corners of the backwoods

The passion fruit looked like

A nest of cotton.

But one day, long, long ago,

In a month lost in my memory,

If it was May, if it was June,

If it was January or December,

Our Lord Jesus Christ

Was condemned to die

Crucified on a Cross,

Far from here where Christ

Was nailed with a hammer.

And to see such cruelty

All of nature

Was weeping with sadness.

The fields wept,

The beech trees, the rivulets,

The songbirds also cried.

The crested jay, the orange tree.

And there, next to the Cross,

At its foot was a passion fruit

Filled with flowers

From the foot of Our Lord

The blood of Jesus Christ

Spilled down from above

Onto the passion fruit

And tinted all the flowers.

Behold here the story

I heard our young man tell

The reason why the passion flower

Was born purple