Aristolochia maxima, Dutchman's Pipe

Aristolochia maxima

Dutchman's Pipe
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Origin: Central and South America
Vine or creeper plantSemi-shadeFull sunModerate waterRed, crimson, vinous flowersUnusual colorPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirds

Large vine with simple oblong leaf. Older plants have a tendency to flower in mass at the base of the plant. Such "terrestrial" flowers never set fruit. Countrywide distribution, but appears to prefer limestone-based soils. Larval foodplant for butterflies.

This is a plant which does everything to live up to the name given to it by the botanists. A large and vigorous climber, it has large, six inch, rounded leaves and large clusters of ridiculously large, green with white or brownish-red markings (but color can be very variable) flowers of the fantastic, Dutchman's pipe shape, each up to 12 ins. in length - and that's a lot of bloom! And that's not all! These are followed by matchingly large seed capsules. A flower arranger's dream, they are about five inches long, big enough almost to be wired for a miniature 40 watt bulb, and, combining suggestions solicited around the office, like a Chinese lantern made of a dried (admittedly only six-legged) octopus skin. A challenge for you and your greenhouse.

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