It’s been a strange May in Virginia, with almost 10 inches of rainfall, the wettest recorded since the 1870s. Plants that I expect to see this time of year have held back, or else they’ve all come out at once when the hot sun finally hit them (like my roses). One that hasn’t appeared yet is my passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata), also known as purple passionflower or Maypop. This native of the Southeast blooms generously, and its unusual flowers are attractive to the eye and irresistible to butterflies (it’s a host plant for the Variagated Fritillary butterfly). Bees love them, too. It’s one of my favorite blossoms to photograph, and I’ve just finished a new edition of passionflowers on different colored backgrounds (information coming soon). It was apparently given its name because its floral parts were supposed to refer to aspects of the passion of Christ (his suffering and crucifixion). I suspect this was the effort of a well-intentioned monk to distract his converts from the sheer sexiness of the flower! The vine always holds back until it’s good and ready in May (hence its name) and then makes up for lost time. I hope the heavy spring rains haven’t drowned it, but I just checked, and it still hasn’t popped (on this last day of May).