DUTCHMAN'S PIPE VINE Aristolochia chilensis

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A. chilensis is a perennial climbing vine whose stalks can grow to about 1 meter (3.3 ft) in length. The flowers may be yellowish or brownish-purple in color. Retorse (downward-pointing) hairs on the flower, similar to those of pitcher plants, impede the departure of the flies. Once trapped, pollen from the stamens is deposited on the flies, and pollen they brought with them is deposited on the stigmata as they enter. Within the flower, they are sustained by nectaries for a day, while the stamens ripen and the flower withers. This releases tension in the retorse hairs and frees the flies. The flower usually grows between 15–30 cm (6–12 in) tall with the scrambling vines growing to about 1 meter (3 feet).

Members of the genus Aristolochia are known for fly pollination and are similar to pitcher plants and flytraps. The main difference is that those plants digest the insects for nutrients, while the Aristolochia use them mainly for pollination. Every part of the plant is also poisonous if ingested by humans or animals. Caterpillars and the swallowtail butterfly actually feed on the leaves, flowers, and shoots of the plant. Caterpillars can especially tolerate the acids contained within the plant and, in turn, cause them to become poisonous to predators. The plant is also zygomorphic and usually has foetid flowers to attract pollinators (flies) while repelling predators. The aroma of the flower especially helps with its survival.

This plant thrives in very dry areas with little to no rainfall and can tolerate droughts. They also thrive on full exposure to sunlight and grow only on level or northern facing slopes. The plant can not handle snow but it can tolerate brief freezing spells of approximately -5 °C which is the approximate temperature of the morning frost in Chile. They also need adequate drainage to mature properly.

Type: Perennial

Hardiness zones: 9-11

Location: Sun or part sun

Note: Poisonous. Please keep these seeds and plants in a safe place.

Seeds per pack: 3

Germination: Place the seeds just under the surface of the soil, and germinate at 15-20 degrees celsius. The seeds can take 2-4 months to germinate, sometimes longer, so be sure to check on them for growth periodically, and bring them to a sunny location once growth begins. Once growing, provide climbing support, and grow in a well-drained location.

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