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Aristolochia littoralis Dutchmans Pipe1


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Aristolochia littoralis or Dutchmans Pipe or calico flower is a beautiful, highly entertaining, exotic, cultivated ornamental vine with large, heart-shaped flowers. It is also called Birthworts and are occasionally encountered in herbal preparations as a remedy for various ailments as well as to ease the pain of childbirth. They were sometimes used to treat malaria and other diseases. Many Aristolochias contain the alkaloid aristolochic acid and other components. All of these plants are highly toxic and should never be taken internally as they are cacinogens, especially to the kidneys.
The name is derived from the Greek aristos, meaning best, and lochia, meaning delivery, because it was valued in child birthing and the resemblance of the shape of the flower as a human fetus in the womb.
The plant is native to Brazil, and is an invasive species in the southern United States and Australia where it kills the caterpillars of the threatened Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.
The flowers are supposed to smell like rotten meat to attract flies for pollination, but mine did not smell. It is said to tolerate temperatures down to frost and will regrow from the ground stems. It will endure short periods of drought and still look fresh. Fertilise with a balanced fertilizer every third watering throughout the growing season. It grows best in rich, well-drained soil. Requires only average soil to look good. Does well in light sandy soils and bright, but not too much direct sunlight.

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