Content Detail

Dutchman’s pipe is a vigorous twining vine that serves as a food source for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly and its caterpillars. Also known as Aristolochia macrophylla.

  • Family (English) Birthwort
  • Family (botanic) Aristolochiaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil
  • Season of interest early summer, late spring, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Method of Climbing:

Dutchman’s pipe can easily grow 20 to 30 feet in one growing season.  It is a twining vine.  Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This vine is native to North American, primarily in Appalachia.

Leaf description:

The alternate, simple leaves are large (up to 10 or 12 inches long) and heart-shaped.  Leaves often orient themselves in the same direction and produce a green screen. Fall color is a poor yellow-green.

Flower description:

Flowers are very unusual in that they are shaped like Dutch smoking pipes, giving this plant its common name.  The flowers are S-shaped with a three-lobed flat ‘face’. They are produced in late spring and early summer. They are very showy close-up, but are often hidden by the dense foliage. The petals can be yellow-green to brownish.

Fruit description:

The fruit is a 2 to 3 inch long capsule.

Plant Care:

This vine is best grown in full sun to part shade and prefers moist, well-drained soils.  Avoid dry sites.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

No real pests, but this plant does serve as a larval food for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly’s caterpillar, so some feeding damage can be expected. This plant is tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

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