Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Dutchman’s Pipe ( Aristolochia grandiflora )




I planted this vine with the greatest of hopes. It grew, and grew and every week I beat it back. Nary a single flower. Tiring of beating the vine back, I cut it down.
Fast grower! Can easily reach 20′ tall in two summers.

Grows best in moist woodland areas. But must have several hours of sun for blooming.

Blooms appear early summer, flowers can be anywhere from 8″ to 20″ on older vines.

This is one of the few vines that is easier to grow from seed than from cuttings.

Aristolochia grandiflora is originally from Central America, there are about 350 species worldwide. Some grow in tropical areas others in temperate forests.

Highly toxic plant – do not ingest.

Problems:
Spider mites may attack this plant.

This is an interesting plant in that its flowers give off a scent to attract flies. Flies fly into the flower and it traps them overnight. There are hairs inside the flower that point in making it a one way trip down the narrow column to the round base. The flies fly around inside the flower getting totally covered in pollen. In the morning the flower relaxes allowing the pollen covered fly to escape and pollinate another flower.

Swallowtail and birdwing butterfly caterpillars use this as a food source. They absorb the toxins making them toxic to birds that would eat them. Some species of this plant are toxic to butterflies and they can get confused and lay eggs on the wrong species of Aristolochia ( elegans ). So know your species before you plant it.