Passiflora, or passion fruit flower
The plants were named for the Passion of Christ, because the flower structure seemed symbolic of Jesus' scourging, crowning with thorns, and crucifixion. The Mexican Augustinian friar Emmanuel de Villegas sketched the plant (P. caerulea) in 1610, and first mentioned the 'sacred meaning'. The ten petals represent the ten 'good' apostles (minus Judas and Peter), the 72 filaments correlated with the number of thorns in Jesus' crown, the five stamina stand for the five stigmata, and the three flower stigmata represent the crucifixion nails. In addition, the outer parts of the flower resemble a halo. This symbolism was later embellished even further.