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Aristilochia serpentaria

Common Name(s):
Virginia Dutchmanspipe, Virginia snakeroot
Categories:
Groundcover, Herbs, Perennials, Wildflowers
Comment:

Aristilochia serpentaria is an herbaceous perennial groundcover in the Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort) family that works well in a woodland or shade garden.  It has alternate lives that zigzag on the stem between pairs of succeeding leaves. The leaf blades are 2–5" long and ½–2" across; they are narrowly cordate, ovate-sagittate, or narrowly hastate with a pair of rounded basal lobes.  It has an odd-looking small tan and purple-burgundy pitcher-shaped flowers that are found close to the ground, lying on the ground or under leaf litter.  The flowers resemble those of Woolly Pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa) and Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla), although the flowers of Virginia Snakeroot are smaller in size and they are held much closer to the ground. The latter two plants are much longer vines that are distributed primarily in SE United States.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:                     Blooms: Spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Capsule

Wildlife Value: Flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by flesh flies, fungus gnats, and possibly carrion beetles searching out nectar. The caterpillars of a butterfly, the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), feed on the foliage of Virginia snakeroot, although more than one plant is required to complete their development. Because the foliage and roots are toxic and unpleasant-tasting, mammalian herbivores do not feed on this plant.  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: 

Synonomus with: Aristolochia convolvulaceaAristolochia hastataAristolochia nashiiAristolochia serpentaria var. hastataAristolochia serpentaria var.nashiiEndodeca serpentariaEndodeca serpentaria var. hastata

 

Season:
Spring, summer
Light:
Shade to part shade
Height:
.5-2 ft.
Flower Color:
Purple/brown
Foliage:
The leaves of the Virginia Snakeroot are alternate and heart-shaped with a smooth margin.
Flower:
The Virginia Snakeroot has small purple-brown flowers that bloom in early summer at the base of the plant. This plant produces a 1/2-inch fruit that contains many seeds.
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
The Virginia Snakeroot will tolerate both wet and dry soils.
Form:
Groundcover
Propagation:
Seed
Exposure:
Part shade to full shade
Soil:
Loamy with organic matter
Regions:
Southeastern and Midwestern US
Tags:
woodland, deciduous, shade garden, wildlife

NCCES plant id: 3288

Aristilochia serpentaria Leaves
Fritz Flohr Reynolds, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Aristilochia serpentaria Fruit
Fritz Flohr Reynolds, CC-BY-SA-2.0