passionflower family

passionflower family

Family Passifloraceae, composed of about 705 species of herbaceous or woody vines, shrubs, and trees in 16 genera. Members of this family grow mostly in warm regions. Many species produce edible fruits. Members of the largest genus, Passiflora, are highly prized for their showy, unusual flowers. A pedestal-like structure in the centre of the flower carries the reproductive parts of both sexes. The passionflower blossom is often used to symbolize events in the last hours (Passion) of Jesus, which accounts for the name of the group.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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