Bizarre Flower du Jour

By | Friday, July 15, 2011 Leave a Comment

This strange plant is one of the newer additions to my garden. It is Aristolochia trilobata, a member of a family of vines commonly called "Dutchman's Pipe."  I have three different "Dutchman's Pipes" growing in my garden. While they all have odd flowers, this is by far the strangest.

One of the others that I am growing, Aristolochia 'durior x elegans', has a flower that is much more reminiscent of its English namesake.

A. trilobata is named for its three-lobed leaves. Its flowers are apparently pollinated by flies, as it smells (I kid you not) like a nice, fresh pile of dog poop. I'm not sure of the function of the long streamer that hangs down from the top of the flower's bell. Perhaps a ladder for insects to climb? This one has a streamer that is almost a foot long!

You may wonder why I am growing such a plant. Well, ever since childhood I have been fascinated by oddities in the natural world. Besides, A. trilobata is a nice, easy to grow vine with attractive, shiny foliage.  So why not?

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