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Thursday 30 April 2020

The Beautiful Passion Flower And Mythology

The Strange Ways Of The Exotic Krishna Kamal Flowers

The blooming of this passion flower has been captured on
camera by a retired Dy general manager of a bank B N Nagendra.

Along the hedgerows, on the edges of woods, in the thickets, tumbling over trellises, jumping over fences and snaking the open grounds – a strange and exotic flower when it blooms – it brings everlasting joy in one’s heart. It is called by so many names – wheel of fortune or passion flower or Krishna Kamal and even May Pop.

The flowers look so strange some even say it is from another planet. After witnessing it's bloom one day, I realized that there is so much to see during our lifetime which we may have missed seeing or  even aware of it. Now is the time to see and feel nature’s glory which is so near and close but has not been visible to people for many reasons.

Passion Flower
Image Credit : Wikimedia Commons/PumpkinSky

Even as the country is watching the Mahabharat episode on national channel of Doordarshan and people are busy discussing the various characters in this epic serial - the one thing that came to my mind is its connection to the Krishna Kamal flowers and its beautiful bloom. To my luck – I was a witness to the beautiful bloom of this exotic wild passion flower recently.

For centuries, these beautiful and colorful flowers have found a place in the hearts of people as every part of this flower has an association with this epic. Now why an epic buried in the annals of history should be compared to passion flowers is a mystery? Each and every part of Krishna Kamal flower has a meaning and comparison to the epic. The purple flowers bloom so exquisitely that one would like to gaze at it for eternity. Now if you look at each part of the flower closely – it becomes very clear to compare their parts to the Kuru family of Mahabharata.

The central crown of 100 purple-pink filaments that you literally see hanging out beautifully is supposed to be the 100 Kauravas – sons of King Dhritrashatra. The five greenish-yellow stamens are supposed to be the five Pandavas while the green bulb in the centre is Draupadi. Apart from this, the three stigmas are considered the trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Finally, as the name Krishna Kamal describes – the central part – the radial symbolizes the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Krishna.

Not just this epic, this flower has  found references to Jesus Christ too. The central corona is also believed to resemble the crown of thorns worn by Lord Jesus during crucifixion. So this flowering plant is also known as crown of thorns as it symbolizes the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross.

The wild passion flowers with its strange and exotic flowering characteristics have their origins in south eastern parts of America. Flowering during the summer season, it blooms during full sun exposure.  It is a small vine plant but tends to grow in all directions. If you have planted the Passion flower in your garden which spreads its unique fragrance as it grows – then look for the older parts of the vine as the flowers here will bloom first and then proceeds to the other parts. But it is only in the summers that they bloom and take your breath away. Since they are basically vines, when they grow - they spread over fences, shrubs and trees.

Passion Flower
Image Credit : Wikimedia Commons/Sankarshansen

Now throughout history, the Krishna Kamal has been tagged with many myths, legends and historical characters as the flowers are strange and unique with many colors and hues. Since time immemorial - the flowering plant with its fragrant flowers and berries have found lot of usages in cooking and medicine.

They have found use as a beverage, medicine and for making lot of delicious sweet dishes like jellies, cakes and candy.  It is said that Native Americans used its ingredients as a tonic, sedative, tranquillizer and relaxant.

This incredible flower lasts only for a day or two and later transforms into the passion fruit which is edible and relished by many.

How To Locate
A flower of the tropics it has its origin in south eastern parts of America and has spread across the world with varying number of species - 550.  So, therefore the colors and blooms vary from species to species. Basically a climber and a sun lover, you can see this flower climbing over fences and other plants

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