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Aristolochia californica Torr.
California dutchman's pipe
Synonym(s): Isotrema californica
USDA Symbol: arca10
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A sprawling deciduous vine with pipe- or S-shaped, purplish-brown flowers on a short stalk. California dutchmans-pipe is a woody, deciduous, climbing vine reaching reaching 9-12 ft. in length. Unusual purple-striped, pipe-shaped flowers hang from the axils of large, silky leaves.
The unusual flowers of this plant are composed of sepals that continue to grow as they mature; the smaller flowers closely resemble an old-fashioned curved pipe. When fully developed, the flowers emit a foul smell that attracts small flies. These flies enter the flower and cause it to close for a few hours. This traps the insects inside and increases the chance that they will pollinate the flower. The plant is not insectivorous, the flies escape and carry the pollen to adjacent plants.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Vine Root Type: Tap Leaf Complexity: Simple Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Size Notes:
4-10 cm Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: CA Native Distribution: CA
Coast Ranges from Monterey Co. & Sierra foothills from Sacramento Co., n. Native Habitat:
Shrubby stream banks; seeps; mixed evergreen
forest; below 1500 ft.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Becomes fairly drought-tolerant with age. Can be aggressive and fast-growing in the right environment, but is always easily controlled.
PropagationDescription: Increase by layering, division, cuttings, or by seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: If seeds are not going to receive a natural cold-moist period, they should be stratified for 3 months at 40 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff