13 responses to “Aristolochia elegans”

  1. cody

    I’ll bet they start evolving some kind of mechanism to prevent their death, either a resistance to the toxin or a particular repulsion to this species as a larval food plant. I’ve heard that many Australian snake species have evolved smaller heads as a response to the selection pressure exerted by the toxic cane toad infestation. Snakes with small heads can’t swallow the poisonous toads, so they survive to have more offspring (with smaller heads), and so on…

  2. Loey

    Daniel: “I don’t know what’s crazier, you or the things you talk about”, but do keep bringing it on. Any lovely photos of ‘Dutchman’s pipe’? Thanks for your botanical bevy of beauty and interest. Loey

  3. Beverley

    Aristolochia elegans – Z9 – RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
    Aristolochia elegans – min 7 degrees C/45 degrees F – A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
    Aristolochia, ar-is-to-lo-ke-a; from Gr. aristos, best [most useful], and locheia, childbirth, alluding to ancient use in maternity – the Birthwort. elegans el-e-ganz, elegant. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith

  4. Margaret-Rae Davis

    I remember seeing a porch of a house with vines all over it. If you looked cosely you could fine small flowers in a green colour that looked like a pipe. It was so long ago that I don’t remember if there was colour in the inside of the pipe.
    Thank you

  5. Connor

    cody: Your comment on ‘reciprocal’ evolution reminded me of something I had read. Members of the Apiaceae family produce toxic chemicals called linear furanocoumarins. The black swallowtail butterfly has evolved a detoxicative enzyme and caterpillar feed on these plants. Some Apiaceae species, however, have evolved the ability to synthesize angular furanocoumarins. Black swallowtail caterpillars lack the enzyme required to metabolize this chemical and are killed after ingestion. Maybe an insect/plant arms-race is being initiated in Australia between swallowtails and Aristolochia.

  6. Joe

    To me it looks oddly like some sort of cephalopod.

  7. Elena

    Cody and Connor – Most (if not all) of the plants in this family contain a toxin called Aristolochic acid. In the northeast US there is a pipevine that is native to the area (Aristolochia macrophylla) which is the host plant for the black swallowtail. These swallowtail caterpillars can sequester the toxin thus making them toxic as well. Pretty cool, but here is where the story gets crazy: the spicebush swallowtail, which feeds on another northeast native, the spicebush, is not toxic however the spicebush swallowtail caterpillars mimic the toxic black swallowtail caterpillars to escape from predators! Aristolochia is tied to not just the insect that uses it as a host, but also to another insect species.
    Additionally, the pipe morphology of the flowers traps insect pollinators (mainly flies), which are attracted to the nectar in the bottom of the pipe. They crawl down into the pipe and can’t crawl back out until the flower splits open. Evolution towards carnivory, perhaps?

  8. Jaxon

    I first saw the Dutchman’s Pipe @ the Devonian Gardens by Edmonton, Alberta, and ever since I have been on the hunt for one. Does anyone know where I could find a good healthy one in BC? Let me know!

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    no wonder people put up signs
    keep away from the flowers

  10. Silvano Del Lungo

    stupenda e veramente elegante foto.

  11. sanip badadhe

    send me all avilable photos of

  12. Fanny @ Green Thumbs Up inc, (lived in Montreal and now in Northern California)

    It would actually be perfect under oaks, don’t you think? There’s that season that they get dripping in caterpillars here in Northern California. A natural predator like that would be symbiotic. Am I totally wrong? Or does someone have some other facts? I may be totally wrong!

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