|Monday Melange: Dutchman's Pipe|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 10 December 2012|
Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia spp.) is a woody deciduous twining vine with dense foliage. It is used on arbors, sun porches, and pergolas to provide shade and to a lesser extent, for its unusual flowers. 23 species of Dutchman’s pipe are listed in the USDA Plant Database. At least one species, A. elegans, the elegant Dutchman’s pipe is considered invasive. Native species include A. macrophylla on the east coast, A. tomentosa in the southeast, A. californica in California, A. watsonii in Nevada and New Mexico, and A. reticulata in Texas.
Dutchman’s pipe is hardy between USDA zones 4 and 8 and is part of the Birthwort family (Aristolochiaceae). The flowers of many species of Dutchman’s pipe bloom in late spring and are about 2 inches long. They are tubular and curved, resembling Dutch smoking pipes. A. californica blooms in late winter.
The greenish-yellow and maroon-brown flowers are not always visible because of the dense foliage comprised of large heart-shaped leaves. The ribbed tubular shaped seed capsules mature in September and can be up to 3-inches long. Dutchman’s pipe (A. tomentosa) is a larval plant for the pipe vine swallowtail butterfly, making it a nice addition for a butterfly garden.
Dutchman’s pipe (A. macrophylla and pictured above) is listed in Maryland as threatened. (A. tomentosa) is listed as endangered in Florida.
Photo source: www.mobot.org