Douglas Hunt
Douglas Hunt
  • Hometalker
  • New Smyrna Beach, FL

First pipevine bloom


I had to show off the first bloom from the pipevine I planted little more than a month ago. Judging by the size of the flower (this one is 6 by 7 inches!), I believe this is Aristolochia gigantea. One look should tell you where this plant gets its other common name, calico flower. (Actually, the flower is supposed to look like rotting meat to a pollinator. Isn't that a lovely thought?)
Yes, I do know that non-native Aristolochia species are considered invasive in Florida. But this plant is also an important larval source for the pipevine swallowtail. At the nursery where I purchased it, one of the clerks told me her pipevine had been defoliated three times in one season by swallowtail caterpillars. That is exactly what I am hoping will happen. Eating the pipevine makes the swallowtails poisonous, so their predators avoid them. Isn't nature wonderful?
Rotten meat? I don't see it!
Rotten meat? I don't see it!

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3 of 53 comments
  • Rusty Rose
    on Nov 22, 2013

    This is really interesting. I would like to try it. I am co-owner of a Flower shop in Pittsboro Indiana and our customers would flip! Does it have a fragrance? Can it be grown indoors?

    • Douglas Hunt
      on Nov 22, 2013

      @Rusty Rose I have not detected a fragrance, although some members of the pipevine family are known for the putrid fragrance of their blooms. I assume it could be grown indoors if you could provide the right conditions, but it does get to be a really big plant.

  • Carolyn Freeman C
    on Feb 4, 2014

    Wow

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