This plant is a native to the Americas, growing in sandy thickets and open fields, roadsides, and waste places. It is listed in Indiana as rare, and in Ohio as Threatened.
This flower was named the Passion flower due to the fact that the flower reminded early Christians of Christ’s passion on the cross. Count the petals and sepals, together they are said to represent the disciples (except for Judas & Peter). The stamens number 5, just as Christ had 5 wounds. The stigmas look like the nails of the crucifixion used to affix him to the wooden cross and the corona represents the crown of thorns.
The Cherokee used the flower for food, medicine, and for religious ceremony. It was used in a formula for nervous behavior along with hops, valerian, and hawthorn. In combination with peppermint it has calming properties. Today it is still used for calming.
The fruit can be eaten raw, the inside is yellow, and gelatin like. It can also be used to make drinks, sherbet, jams & jellies. The leaves could be eaten as a spring green.
The aromatic flowers are used in making perfume, and added to potpourri or dried and burned as incense. The root is also used as an insecticide.