En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - A Pipevine poisonous to Pipevine Swallowtails

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: A Pipevine poisonous to Pipevine Swallowtails
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have heard that a specific Pipevine is poisonous to the larva of Pipevine Swallowtails. Is this true? If so, what is the poisonous species of Pipevine, and what other types can I plant that will not be poisonous? Thank you!

ANSWER:

All of the pipevine plants native to North America (which is what we deal with at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center) are members of the genus Aristolochia. Many experts consider all parts of plants of that genus to be toxic. In an article by the Napa Valley Master Gardeners, we picked up this information on the toxicity of the plant to the pipevine swallowtail.

"All parts of the pipevine plant, including the seed pods, are toxic to humans. In contrast, caterpillars can ingest the toxins, but then they become unappetizing to birds. Yellow jackets also have no problem cleaning out the pods as soon as they open."

So, apparently, the toxicity in the plant is for the protection of the caterpillars for this beautiful butterfly. We could find no reference of any kind about any member of this genus being poisonous for the larvae. We did note that the plant is not considered a nectar source for the butterfly; perhaps because the nectar would be toxic for the adult.

Here are the species of Aristolochia that are native to Texas:

Aristolochia coryi (Cory's dutchman's pipe)

Aristolochia erecta (swanflower)

Aristolochia pentandra (Marsh's dutchman's pipe)

Aristolochia reticulata (Texas dutchman's pipe)

Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot)

Aristolochia tomentosa (woolly dutchman's pipe)

And here is a page of pictures of various species of Aristolochia.


Aristolochia erecta

Aristolochia tomentosa

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Vines for fence in Gatesville, Texas
July 26, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, My wife and I are looking for a nice vine or Ivy for our chain link fence to add a little privacy. We have 4 dogs that bark at anything that moves. We live in Gatesville Tex...
view the full question and answer

Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas NM
May 19, 2013 - Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas, New Mexico?
view the full question and answer

Identification of purchased vine
November 11, 2010 - Hi, I bought a hanging vine plant, and came with no id. The leaves are simple, alternate arrangement, entire margin (smooth edge margin). It has an ashy look, like the green purple sage. The flower ...
view the full question and answer

Folsom CA Wall-cover
April 13, 2012 - I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really t...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of trumpet vines from Dallas
August 19, 2010 - Can you tell me about trumpet vines, can they be rooted in water? I heard they reseed at the end of their growing season.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center