Friday, October 7, 2011

Plant of the week: Aristolochia gigantea

Ever thought of getting a Brazilian?  Vine I mean...

This not so weekly plant of the week features Aristolochia gigantea or giant Dutchman's pipe, Brazilian Dutchman's pipe.  The largest Aristolochia I know of, it doesn't really resemble a pipe as some of the others in the genus, like our native A. californica does.  What it does resemble is fairly appropriate for the month of October and Halloween. Large fleshy inflated liver looking blooms swell until they pop,  when they turn from lifesize livers and to open lungs. The flower's bloody color and veiny appearance really elicit opposing impressions from visitors of either wonder or disgust. I measured the blooms today, incredibly they are 11 inches wides and a whopping 15 inches long! The vine itself has pleasant heart shaped leaves.

I've written about this plant before, but I felt it was time to mention it again.  It's hard to get the real A. gigantea, as opposed to A. littoralis which is more available and often listed as the former.

Notice my tiny hands next to this gentle giant


  1. Goodness, it's almost obscene. I've brought home a tiny A. fimbriata -- much more my speed. And, boy, have you been busy lately!

  2. What an amazing flower, I remember it flowering at Wisley in the glasshouse

  3. Wow, if your hand hadn't been there I would have thought these were about 3" long.

    Also, I don't have many seeds to trade right now. My last batch of E. wildpretii was a total bust. I have some ceanothus and salvia that I just got at Theo P if you're interested.