Space alien? Sea creature? Flower?
Passiflora inarnata is a NC native -- though I've never come across one growing. So I purchased one and will plant it where I can keep an eye on it. The flowers are spectacular and the fruits -- called Maypops -- are edible.
Left to its own devices, it will run along the ground and perhaps become invasive. I plan to plant it with a trellis to grow up, where it's bounded by our driveway and mown grass.
The name Passion refers not to mortal lust but to the Crucifixion. Long ago, Jesuits found religious symbolism in the different parts of this spectacular flower. See HERE for the story.
As a bonus, it has a lovely honey sweet fragrance.