Krishna Kamal - The Passion Flower
The Krishna Kamal flowers - purple and red - belong to the Passiflora genus and known by the botanical alias of P. incarnata.
The Krishna Kamal flowers, also referred to as the Passion Flowers, are indeed big and colourful and utterly beautiful. Popular in the Indian gardens are two colours - purple-blue and dark red. Both flower-bearing plants are vines and the Krishna Kamal leaves are typically three-lobed. The fruit - called Passion fruit - is closely related to the edible variety Passiflora edulis.
The Krishna Kamal climber is quite sturdy, can tolerate a wide range of sunlight intensity (though strictly outdoor, it is not quite an indoor vine), can grow and flower in high temperature and can flourish even when ignored for a while! It also has high air pollution tolerance and can even grow along heavy-traffic highways.
The Krishna Kamal flowers have religious significance both in Hinduism and Christianity. In Hinduism, the flowers, with their quaint structure appear to portray various characters from the Mahabharata. For instance there are five sepals that signify the Pandavas, 100 corona filaments that stand for the Kauravs, the greenish bulb-like structure symbolizes Draupadi (the Pandavas’ queen), the three stigmas at the centre depict Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (the Hindu Holy Trinity) and a central structure that resembles Sri Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra. Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns appears to be reflected in the corona structure of the flower. Thus, the Passion flower symbolizes Jesus’s suffering.
Krishna Kamal flowers, being nearly 10 cm in diameter, can bloom several times a year, and in profusion, too, making the vine an exquisite addition to a garden or a balcony. The fruit yields local medicine and seeds that can be soaked and sown to yield baby plants. The Krishna Kamal plant propagation can also be possible through cutting.
Fun Fact -
Despite their name of Krishna Kamal, surprisingly, the plant is native to North America and only naturalized in India!