En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Jelly from wild grapes with a few peppervine berries from Dunnellon FL
August 20, 2010 - Thank you for your quick response to my question. Due to your answer, I am going to make jelly from this juice.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Where in Texas can Vitis rupestris be found for collecting seeds and cuttings
July 27, 2014 - Where in Texas can I collect in the wild - cuttings or seeds from the Native American plant Vitis rupestris? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Identification of ivy-like plant with large purplish leaves.
March 27, 2015 - Can you ID this ivy-like growing plant with a big purplish elephant ear type leaf and a big green stem pouch?
view the full question and answer

Identity of night-glowing object in tree in New Hampshire
August 02, 2013 - I know this sounds crazy but last night when my husband stepped outside he noticed a purplish glow in one of the trees. At first he thought some kind of animal but when throwing a rock at it it did no...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center