Friday, August 24, 2012

Dutchman's pipe - Aristolochia gigantea

One of my favorite vines... actually, all vines are my favorites ;-)

The flowers of Aristolochia gigantea are simply amazing, deep red and cream with a bright yellow center.

Large ovals looking like marbled steak meat, but no, they do not attract flies nor do the flowers have a bad fragrance.

The leaves are perfectly heart-shaped  and with the pendulous flowers the runners sure looks like a summer garland

The back of the flower is just as interesting

the common name is Dutchman's pipe, I guess the flower bud resembles a pipe?

The seed pods are  little hanging baskets, filled with seeds

This variety serves as host plant for the Polydamas Swallowtail (or Gold-Rim Swallowtail). I read it is poisonous to the Pipevine Swallowtail.  I never saw a Pipevine Swallowtail on my plant but it supports hundreds of Gold Rims each year.

The caterpillar  soon to be a Gold Rim Swallowtail

The, oh so alien looking, pupa

A Gold Rim on purple Porterweed, the only tail-less Swallowtail in the US

They don't hold still making it hard for me to get a good picture :-/