Aristolochia chilensis

Aristolochia is a large genus of over 5oo species. They occur in diverse habitats throughout much of the world. Aristolochia chilensis is endemic to Chile and can be found from the Atacama south to the metropolitan areas of Valparaiso and Santiago. The plants in this photo were encountered in very dry territory near the Elqui Valley.

Known locally as orejas de zorro (fox ears), the low growing perennial vines can reach a metre in length. The flowers of Aristolochia chilensis can be either yellow or brownish purple and have a fetid odor, which attracts the flies that pollinate them. Downpointing hairs can be seen covering the inside of the flowers. It seems that this impedes the escape of the insects to better ensure pollination.

Aristilochia chilensis and its similar relative Aristolochia bridgesii are the larval food source for Battus polydamas, the gold rim swallowtail butterfly, in Chile.

Aristolochia chilensis

7 responses to “Aristolochia chilensis”

  1. JAPrufrock

    Oh, poor thing- a vine desperately looking for a tree.

  2. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    A very interesting genus, the “dutchman’s pipes”. Lots of variations on the pipe-shaped flowers. As far as I’ve been able to find out, the flowers in this photo are only a couple of inches long, at most.
    A google search using the scientific name will yield many more good photos. This one also shows the scale, and lets you enlarge sections of the images:

  3. Quin

    oh!!! LOVE the glaucussy color and patterning of the foliage too!
    very sexy flower – wonder if Georgia O’Keefe ever rendered this one?

  4. elizabeth a airhart

    nature is a wonder a plant[ fox ears]
    for just one butterfly
    socidad-chilena de quimica
    gives information and write up
    thank you all

  5. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Quin: after poking around quite a bit, I don’t believe that Georgia O’Keeffe painted an Aristolochia. (Unless she kept it hidden.)

  6. Quin

    Mary Ann – Sure you’re right, just a passing thought. Thanks, q

  7. Alejandro Urzua

    The plants in this photo is Aristolochia bridgesii, with pale yellow flowers. Also the location is of Aristolochia bridgesii.

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