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Aristolochia gigantea, Calico Flower, Giant Pelican Flower

Aristolochia gigantea

Calico Flower, Giant Pelican Flower
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Origin: Brazil, Mexico, Panama
Vine or creeperFull sunRegular waterModerate waterDry conditionsUnusual colorFragrantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsInvasiveSubtropical, mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

The Aristolochia gigantea will inspire a sense of marvel to anyone who gazes upon it. This truly spectacular blossom produces a pouch that in some cultivars is almost 2 feet long and more than a foot across. Ivory veins network across a burgundy velvet background as the flower unfurls. Heart-shaped, light green leaves, about 6 inches in length, adorn this easy-to-grow vine. The plant blooms at a young age and grows in full sun or partial shade.

In some sources, Aristolochia gigantea is considered as Aristolochia grandiflora var. Hookeri. The cultivation of Aristolochias is undemanding. Sun lovers that appreciate some shade in hotter inland areas, they adapt to any soil that drains well. Any pruning necessary to contain or shape the plants should be done in late winter or early spring. Cultivation is easy, and growth can be tamed. Papery capsule containing many seeds.

A. gigantea var. Brasiliensis has even larger lemon-scented flowers and exhibits an elaborate pattern of white and mottled reddish brown. Since it is not a vigorous vine, it can easily be trained on a stake, trellis or even a hanging basket. A most interesting fly catching, carnivorous plant.

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