The Symbolism of the Passion Flower
Possibly one of the most complex flower structures in the Plant Kingdom is the truly amazing, Passion Flower, from which we derive, Passion fruit. Few people know that its name came from the historical event often called the, “Passion of Jesus of Nazareth.” The flower opens and closes for only one day in alignment with the “Day of Passion” in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Here are elements of the crucifixion of Jesus as symbolized by the flower’s structure:
- The ten large sepals and petals which surround the center represents the ten loyal disciples, omitting Peter for his denial, and Judas for his act of betrayal as set forth by the Ascended Master.
- The tiny filaments which radiate from the center, called the corona, make up what can be called a “crown of thorns”. In truth, the actual crown of thorns was made from the Acantha plant which was commonly used as a celebratory wreath that a king or caesar would ear upon their head. The derivation of the word, “acantha” is Latin for “spiny leaves.” It was more of a mocking gesture than the very painful looking crown of thorns often depicted in paintings, crosses or scepters. [For those who work in gum paste, the classic gum used is Gum Tragacanth. The word “tragacanth” stems from the latin roots, “tragos” meaning goat, and “acantha” meaning also horn or spike. The Tragacanth plant produces a spiral, hard substance similar in shape to a goat’s horn. This part of the plant is then crushed and turn into Gum Tragacanth Powder, the hardest gum for use with sugar flowers. If you have only used other gums, try it! You will like how strong it makes your sugar flowers…less breakage!]
- The five yellow-green stamens that radiate flat from the round, ovary center symbolize the five wounds Jesus received upon the cross.
- The three red stigmas that protrude from the center of the ovary are a painful reminder of the three nails.
- And finally, the five fingered, hand-shaped leaf shown in the first photo mirrors the “hand of man.”
Wish to purchase sugar products for this fun and rewarding sugar flower creation?
- Passion Flower Petal Cutter
- Passion Flower Leaf cutter
- Passion Flower Center Maker
- Passion Flower Leaf Veiner
On a side note, there was a Bridezilla involved in the creation of this cake. By coincidence too, it was made for the Palm Sunday of Passion Week. The bride was so passionate about keeping the sugar Hairstreak butterfly after cutting the cake, she took the caterer to court because he broke it! She wouldn’t pay him 50% of his catering fee until a judge laughed at the suit, and called her ridiculous, and ordered her to pay up immediately! Watch out for giant lizards wearing a veil!
Here is a visual metaphor for what needs to be done to this aggressive and demanding creature of the wedding cake business.
This is just one of the many lessons contained within DVD#6, “Cake Art Business”.
How Hyacinth Got its Name
Flowers are often derived from mythical folklore. Here is a short clip from my current DVD production, “Spring Flowers in Sugar,” describing how the aromatic Hyacinth flower came by its flower name.
Animation graphics by Broadway actor, Bill E. Dietrich.