Yesterday’s post about the name Passion, plus the fact that I happen to love passion flowers (because they are so weirdly elaborate), made me wonder: Has anyone ever been given the first-middle combo “Passion Flower”? How about the name of the genus, passiflora?
Turns out the answer is “yes” to both questions, though I could only find a single trustworthy example of each in the records.
- A female named Passion Flower Johnson was born in California in 1988.
- A female named Passiflora Dadge was born in Lancashire, England, in 1896. (Her four older siblings were Lilian, Stephen, Rose and Violet.)
So how did the plant come to be called “passion flower” in the first place? It was named in the 17th century by Spanish Christian missionaries who saw the various components of the bloom as being symbolic of the Passion of Jesus (e.g., the corona filaments represented the crown of thorns).
I also happened to find a Mississippi man named Maypop Stewart on the 1880 U.S. Census. “Maypop” is the common name of a type of passion flower native to the southern U.S. He was an African-American man who’d been born in Alabama in 1820s, so it’s possible that he was a former slave who’d been named by a slaveowner.
P.S. Did you know that the word Passionate has appeared in the SSA’s baby name data before?