Virginia Snakeroot, Black Snakeroot

Aristolochia serpentaria

Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Aristolochia (a-ris-toh-LOH-kee-uh) (Info)
Species: serpentaria (ser-pen-TAIR-ee-uh) (Info)



Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Santa Cruz, California

Cordele, Georgia

Cornelia, Georgia

Lincoln, Nebraska

Plainfield, New Jersey

Cincinnati, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Stow, Ohio

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Leesburg, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 28, 2012, bfowler from Bunker Hill, WV wrote:

I live in West Virginia (berkeley county) in the eastern panhandle. Yes virginia snakeroot grows here. I have transplanted close to a 100 of these into my woods and several in growing containers in my yard. The ones in the woods I use for seed to start new ones and also sell live root stock from the ones in containers. Most of the transplants are dormant now and they were transplanted this year. So in the spring I should have seed stock.


On Sep 1, 2008, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This Aristolochia serpentaria is a woodland native to our region and grows in the parkland forest bordering our property. Unlike other aristolochias, this unremarkable little green plant grows low to the ground and is often over shadowed by other showier plants along the pathways.

A. serpentaria serves as a host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) and is probably the most used Aristolochia for Pipevine ST egg-laying in our region. The plant is rarely found in garden centers but seeds or rooted starts are occasionally available on the internet. The seeds lend themselves to the 'wintersowing' seed starting method.

If you are looking for host plants for the Pipevine Swallowtail, another popular host Aristolachia often used by the Pi... read more


On Nov 30, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Virginia Snakeroot, Black Snakeroot Aristolochia serpentaria is native to Texas and other States.