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Common Dutchman's Pipe Aristolochia tomentosa

Previously known as:

  • Aristolochia pubescens
  • Isotremia tomentosa
Phonetic Spelling
a-ris-toh-LOH-kee-uh toh-men-TOH-suh
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The Wooly Dutchman's Pipe is a deciduous, woody, climbing, and twining vine. It is native to central and the southern United States. It is typically seen in moist woods, thickets, or along streams or riverbanks. It grows rapidly to 20-30 feet tall.  In forests, this plant may be seen in trees or other plants twining its way through the treetops.

The leaves are large, heart-shaped, and very dense. They have wooly hairs on the upper and lower surfaces, The flower's shape resembles the Meershaum smoking pipes made in Europe. This would explain the common name, "Dutchman's Pipe." Their blooms appear in mid to late spring and are usually hidden by the foliage. The blooms are hairy, yellow, or yellowish-green with purplish-lobes. In the fall the plant produces a grayish-brown, cylinder-like capsule that contains many seeds.

The genus name, Aristolochia, is the combination of two words. The Greek word, aristos, translated means " best." The Greek word, locheia, translated means "childbirth."  This refers to the flower's structure resembling a human fetus. The species name, tomentosa, is Latin and means "covered with densely matted wooly hairs." This refers to the wooly hairs on the leaf surfaces, blooms, and stems of the plant.  A very similar plant, Aristolochia macrophylla, is smooth or glabrous. The Wooly Dutchman's Pipe has other common names including Wooly Birthwort and Wooly Pipevine.

The vine is easily grown in moist, loamy, sandy soil. It does not tolerate dry soil and prefers full sun to partial shade. Pruning should be done during the winter months. The plant may be propagated by division, cuttings, or seeds.

The dense foliage would make them an ideal plant for an arbor or trellis.  The vine can be grown in vertical shapes to create a privacy screen on porches, fences, arbors, walls, pillars, or verandas. It may also be a good selection for a butterfly garden.

Reportedly, the flowers of this species emit an odor that attracts flies and gnats which aids pollination. It is also the larval host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

Caution:  The plants of this genus contain a toxin known as aristolochic acid. Ingestion of any part of this plant may cause irreversible kidney failure. The Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly is immune to this poison in this particular species.  

Insect, Disease, and Other Plant Problems: No serious disease/insect problems

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#green flowers#yellow flowers#low maintenance#swallowtail butterflies#stream banks#disease resistant#fast growing#pest resistant#fences#trellises#vines#summer flowers#dense#spring interest#screening#patio planting#garden walls#butterfly friendly#arbor#partial shade tolerant#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#green flowers#yellow flowers#low maintenance#swallowtail butterflies#stream banks#disease resistant#fast growing#pest resistant#fences#trellises#vines#summer flowers#dense#spring interest#screening#patio planting#garden walls#butterfly friendly#arbor#partial shade tolerant#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aristolochia
    Species:
    tomentosa
    Family:
    Aristolochiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    In the past, a European species was used medicinally for pain or infections related to childbirth. Studies have been done to investigate possible tumor-fighting compounds in some species. Carcinogenic properties have also been discovered.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Southern United States
    Distribution:
    Native: AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MS, MO, NY, NC, OK, TN, and TX; Introduced: MA
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pipevine swallowtail butterfly.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    No serious insect or diseases problems.
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    All parts of the vine are toxic if ingested.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    A grayish-brown, tubular-shaped capsule appears in September. Each capsule measures 1.5 to 3 inches long and 1-1.25 inches wide. In the capsule, the seeds are compressed in vertical columns. The grayish-brown seeds are flat, triangular, and measure 3/8 inches long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are 1-2 inches long, densely hairy, and have yellow to greenish-yellow blooms. They resemble a trumpet shape, and the flower tube is sharply curved. The calyx has three lobes which are dark purple. There are no petals. The flowers bloom in late spring to early summer from May to June. They are showy, but the blooms are hard to see because of the dense foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Reniform
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are green, alternate, simple, and densely hairy. They are heart-shaped and measure 3-6 inches long and 2-3.5 inches wide. The leaves tend to overlap, which will cover a trellis or arbor with dense foliage. The upper surface is dark green, and the lower surface is pale green and densely hairy.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is grayish-brown with narrow ridges. The wood is soft and pale brown in color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are grayish-brown or black. Young stems are pubescent, but older stems are smooth.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Hanging Baskets
    Patio
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Insect Pests
    Problems:
    Malodorous
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Children
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    This plant contains renal toxins which can lead to kidney failure. It is also a possible carcinogen. Drugs and herbal medicines containing Aristolochic acid have been banned in the United States.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Aristolochic acid--lethal toxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems