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TREES & plants

Dutchman's pipe

Dutchman's pipe has a very unusual flower.

Dutchman's pipe is a vigorous twining vine that serves as a food source for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly and its caterpillars. Also known as Aristolochia macrophylla.

Botanical name: 
Aristolochia durior
All Common Names: 
Dutchman's pipe, pipevine
Family (English): 
Birthwort
Family (Botanic): 
Aristolochiaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Screen, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Vining
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size and Method of Climbing

Dutchman's pipe can easily grow 20 to 30 feet in one growing season.  It is a twining vine.  Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Plant Care

Best grown in full sun to part shade.  Prefers  moist, well-drained soils.  Avoid dry sites.

Disease, pests, and problems

No real pests, but this plant does serve as a larval food for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly's caterpillar, so some feeding damage can be expected.

Disease, pests and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to North American, primarily in Appalachia.

Leaf description

The alternate, simple leaves are large (up to 10 or 12 inches long) and heart-shaped.  Leaves often orient themselves in the same direction and produce a green screen.
Fall color is a poor yellow-green.

Flower description

Flowers are very unusual in the they are shaped like Dutch smoking pipes, giving this plant its common name.  The flowers are S-shaped with a three-lobed flat 'face'.
They are produced in late spring and early summer.  They are very showy close-up , but are often hidden by the dense foliage.  Yellow-green to brownish.

Fruit description

The fruit is a 2 to 3 inch long capsule.

 

Aristolochia durior or Dutchman's pipe