Brazilian Passion Flower

April 02, 2010

MarioFreitasPassionflower

Photographer: Mario Freitas; Mario’s Website
Summary Author: Mario Freitas

April 2010 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The magnificently colored flower above is called 'maracuja' in South America. It’s also simply known as "maypop  passionflower” (Passiflora edulis). Its greenish fruits are a type of berry that can be processed into juice, and its leaves are sometimes used in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Stepping on the ripened fruit may result in a loud popping sound, hence the name “maypop.”  Seventeenth century Spanish colonizers established that the flower parts symbolize the suffering of Christ on the cross. Photo taken in Curitiba, Brazil on November 7, 2007.