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
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • 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 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • 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, which climbs 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 America, primarily in Appalachia.

Leaf description:

The alternate, simple, heart-shaped leaves grow up to 10 or 12 inches long. 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.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift