Meaning: Lasting beauty
Also called “night-scented stock” or “evening-scented stock”, but the name Hoary Stock made me smirk. The flowers may have lasting beauty and a gorgeous clovy scent but the lasting beauty does not extend to the water that stocks have been sitting in, after a couple of days it will be truly disgusting.
Day 29 #100days
Meaning: Religious superstition
The most striking thing about the passionflower apart from its stylised and slightly alien appearance, is the extent to which it has been co-opted as a metaphor to explain a wide number of religious and cultural ideas.
First, 10 points for you if you knew that in Christian theology the ‘Passion’ in Passionflower refers not to garden variety lust, but to the Passion of Christ, that short and traumatic period between Christ’s entry to Jerusalem and his betrayal and crucifixion.
15th and 16th century Spanish Christian missionaries used the parts of the flower to illustrate the passion story as follows, (thanks Wikipedia!):
- The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles excluding Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer because really who needs friends like those?).
- The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ
- The flower’s radial filaments, represent the crown of thorns
- The chalice-shaped ovary represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
- The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance). Stigma is the plural of stigmata, not a connection I had made before.
In less religiously charged interpretations, the distinctive shape of the flower leads to it being called some version of Clock Flower in such disparate cultures as Israel, Greece and Japan. In Turkey, the shape of the flowers have reminded people of Rota Fortunae, or the Wheel of Fortune.
This is not the flashiest hibiscus. And I’m really not feeling great about my version of it, if I had the time I’d have another go. But I figure out of the 100 there are bound to be a few I don’t like. That’s the process.
What is still fascinating to me though, is that connection through time I feel with a person who has taken the time to study and faithfully record this delicate creeping thing.
And can you imagine how delicate a beauty any sort of hibiscus would have been to the European eye?
My painting is inspired by a botanical painting by Ferdinand Bauer, 1803, The plant was collected at Caledon Bay, Northern Territories, Australia. Plate from Botanical Prints by N & E Robson
(1) This is a saying, not advice. Don’t eat mushrooms unless you’re 100% certain on their identification.