Question about aristolochia clematis

Edinburg, TX

Has anyone grown aristolochia clematis and if so, any luck with pipevine swallowtails or polydamas swallowtails using it as a larval host?

~ Cat

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

From the data at USDA Plants website, I would guess that Aristolochia clematis ( European birthwort) would be hard to grow in TX. If you scroll down and look at the distribution map, it appears to grow in the far northeastern US and eastern Canada.

A. clematis must like a cool climate. I noticed that USDA Plants lists a Texas Dutchman's Pipe, Aristolochia reticulata, that is native to TX, OK, AR and LA.

DG plantfiles has an interesting South American species that does well in TX-

Edinburg, TX

Thanks for the information 2garden :o)

I have the aristolochia fimbriata and another aristolochia - I think gigantea. So far no recent butterfly takers on either one. I raised polydamas caterpillars on the fimbriata a few years ago.

I recently purchased several aristolochia clematis In the hopes of attracting butterflies to lay eggs and they are growing quite far anyway. I have them in pots on my shaded back porch so haven't transplanted them to the yard where they will get th brunt of the south Texas sun and heat!

Want to know if anyone has raised polydamas or pipevine swallowtail caterpillars on the aristolochia clematis???

Belton, TX

Hi, Puddy...not sure you would say that I 'raised' swallowtail on the A. clematis...but more as if they raised themselves on one in the garden...I planted it in shade at the end of my perennial garden where there is a LOT of blooming goin' on...The A. clematis never gets very large but is now coming up well from the same roots I planted many years ago...roots are in full shade against an arbor with minimal moisture...I have id-ed pipevine swallowtail larvae on the stems...and have yet to see blooms from the plant which is another indicator...

Edinburg, TX

That's a good sign! Just wanted to make sure it would be a pipevine plant they would eat. Was it just Pipevine Swallowtails you had on there or Polydamas too? Have been trying to attract the Polys to lay eggs in my yard and so far they just nectar and split!

You say it doesn't get very large??? So would an 8 foot obelisk trellis be too much? I also have some smaller 3 foot ones.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint
Red Oak, TX

Hey Cat:

A. clematis is not really a "vine", more of a short shrubby plant. I'm fairly certainly Polydamas Swallowtail won't use it, but Pipevine Swallowtails will. I'd try an Aristolochia trilobata. That's one that Polydamas will use for sure (of course, so will the PVS).

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society

Belton, TX

Puddy: You know by now I don't discriminate between the species!...and can't really tell one from another!! LOL...the 8' trellis might be too much for the first couple of years....

Lepfarmer: Clematis vary...these are definitely vines, but I do have 2 species that are sub-shrubs as well...doesn't it vary with the species?...and you are right, the A. trilobata works well here and is beautiful...but if I know Puddy, she is always pushing the whole 'right plant right place' thing and that applies to zones!

Edinburg, TX

Okay...who has aristolochia trilobata???? TRADE??? SELL???

Ya know considering the gazillion of Pipevine Swallowtails at the ranch you'd think I'd be able to find an equal amount of aristolochia erecta. The only time I find it is when it is covered in cats. Other than that I lost count of the times I've watched a flitting female alight on a wee blade barely breaking ground. How those butterflies are able to remain so abundant is lost on me. I'm going to have to grab a shovel and dig up the tubers where those wee blades are showing up as a last resort!

Did have a nice plot of them at the ranch but dratted wild hogs dug them up! They left nothing! Nada! Zilch!

On another note...I added another 2500 square feet to my backyard. Had it tilled, leveled and fenced. Trying to find a landscaper to design a butterfly garden has been difficult and pricey. Am still shopping around.

Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)

Sore would love to see pics
of your garden !

hugs from a srill-Valley girl
in my heart !

Thumbnail by BajaBlue
Edinburg, TX

Finally got a tentative emailed design from a landscaper but still have to sit down to talk it out. He's busy and I'm always traveling out of town...hard to nail down a day!!!

Am ticked off though...I sprayed Round Up on every teeny weed I saw sprouting and sprayed plenty on the guinea grass that popped up. Dratted guinea grass is still growing quite well. Danged Round Up didn't even faze it! To top it off...while I was spraying my back walk way I didn't realize I had my finger on the trigger and doused a line through part of my lawn...well the Round Up sure did a number on that!!! Go figure!!! Have never had much luck with Round Up anyway...I don't know why I torture myself by buying it to begin with. Am going to try some other less expensive brand!!!

~ Cat

ps...has anyone seen this raised butterfly shaped garden bed. Got it in an email and am trying to track it down but having no luck finding it on the internet. If anyone knowns where I can find it...let me know!!!!

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint
Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)

that is nice - is it a cincrete firm ?

what dimensions ?

sorry about your RU issues- that
i s why i never touch the stuff !

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

hi pud...i just ran across this thread. i have a wild aristolochia that volunteered itself to my garden and i have not been able to identify the species but it is a big, big hit with the polys. in fact there are polys in some form on it all year. i also have an a. littoralis, but they only use it when the other one is exhausted. here are a couple of photos, the flowers are small and long and narrow...not showy like some of the other aristolochias. this wild aristolochia most definitely prefers to run on the ground and not climb. when it was just a wee plant, i gave it the opportunity to climb on something but no deal. then, when it was older, i gave it the opportunity to climb again but not interested. it is a very pretty plant and is not invasive (i.e. no runner roots). there are lots of seed pods but they are under the leaves on the ground and do not send seeds flying everywhere...i also harvest seeds. i can send you some seeds if you are interested.

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Edinburg, TX

Funny that this thread was revived. Just yesterday I had a Polydamas lay several eggs on a potted pipevine. It was a happy occasion as I was outside showing a friend the wet side of the house that I wanted to shade with vines and a black butterfly was flirting around. I thought cool, a black swallowtail, but when it came closeri saw it was a Polydamas! I quickly gathered some potted pipevines I have around backyard and set them at the edge of the back porch in a close gathering. She quickly honed in on two of them and started laying eggs! She didn't touch the a. Fimbriata though. Not sure what species the other two are...was thinking a. Elegans because the flower is a good size. Do hope the caterpillars will survive on those. I clipped the tendrils and stuck them in wet floral foam in a rearing cage. I have pesky carpenter ants that eat eggs and small instars so I want to keep them safe.

The Polydamas was back again today laying more eggs. Yippee! It's not a common butterfly here. Last time I saw one in my yard was in 2009! you find seedlings sprouting on the ground? When I had a huge vine growing of a. Elegans I'd get gobs of seedling from fallen seeds.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

congratulations!!! the polydamas should survive and do very well on the a. elegans. the first group of eggs that i had was left on an a. elegans (aka littoralis) before the wild aristolochia showed up. i saw the butterflies come every day for about 5 days to oviposit. the caterpillars did very well and i had 30 or so butterflies eclose healthy and strong without the protection of indoor care.

i have not seen any seedlings from the wild aristolochia sprouting on the ground for a few reasons. the vine is not a climber but is rather ground bound. this means there are generally 4 layers of leaves between the ground and the top of the mound. the seed pods develop underneath the layers of leaves, so if a pod were to open up and dump seeds there, the seeds would not have enough light and air to grow. i frequently pick up the mat to take a peek at what's going on under the vine and it is fairly bare of any vegetation. in the first photo, i have picked up the "mat" and you can see a couple of small mushrooms (it is our rainy season and plenty wet right now) and a couple of tiny clovers that will stay very small unless i pull them up. the second reason for no seedlings is most likely that i am very curious
and each time i pick up the mat, if i see a ripened (brown) seed pod i will snip it off and save the seeds.
the little green football shaped thing you may notice on the ground is a tiny lime that fell off the tree near the vine.

i have a number of wild plants in the garden, and this one definitely has the best manners. another thing i appreciate about it is that it recovers its vegetation very rapidly after a major chowing down by the pillars.

the second photo shows the plant growing over a triangular contraption that i put against the wall. this allows air to circulate under at least part of the vine and would give what i thought might be a pleasing waterfall cascading effect and also something for the pillars to climb or rest on other than the vine. so here, there is a space between the vine and the ground (of maybe 6 inches) and there are not any seedlings under that either. the contraption is completely unnecessary. but it makes me happy and i think the pillars enjoy the jungle jim.

did i mention the vine is a bit stinky? i don't notice the stinkiness unless i am very close and brushing against some of the leaves.

if you would like seeds, i have a ton at least and would be happy to send some off to you. just send me your address by dmail and i'll send them off to you. (the photos are not uploading so i'll try again later)

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

here are the photos, maybe

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Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Vitrsna - what a nice suprise to have a volunteer aristolochia . I planted my first a couple of years ago and seem to be the only yard in the neighborhood that has butterflies. I am excited to get more myself.

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Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

greetings floridabunnie. Is that a photo of an aristolochia gigante? or do you just have very tiny hands? nice fingernails must have great gloves if you garden. i am looking at my grubby, stubby fingernails and thinking they only look that nice in my dreams.

if you are interested in seeds from my wild aristolochia, let me know via dmail.

i am particularly interested in finding some fresh cornutia grandifolia (aka tropical or jamacian lilac even though it is from costa rica) seeds and just about the only people who know about this plant are in the southern part of florida. maybe you have this plant or have a friend who does? maybe we could arrange a seed trade? otherwise, the wild aristolochia was a special gift to my garden and so i am happy to gift the seeds.

Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi Vitrsna -

Yes, I do wear gloves (and go through them rather quickly). My nails might look good on the top, but the bottoms are another story - LOL. My hands are rather small, and I believe this is an A. Elegans. I did just get a gigantea, so I will know for sure soon. I would love to have some seeds if you have some to spare. Unfortunately, I don't have or have even seen the jamaican lilac. Ugh, now that I look at it it is a plant I will surely have to add to my yard!! It is lovely! do you know if it has a scent? Lilac and Peony's are the two flowers I miss from living up north.

I will send a d-mail to you regarding the seeds!

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Hola Florida...i have an a. elegans also and your flower looks so much larger than mine so this is what prompted my question. maybe you've been giving it food? yes, i have some wild mexico aristolochia seeds that i can send to you. you know that this aristolochia is not a climber but crawls along the ground making a pretty ground cover but not laying down roots so it is very well behaved in terms of not becoming invasive. the cornutia grandifolia is said to have very fragrant leaves all year and the flowers are nectar rich and attractive to butterflies. i've never seen the plant in person, but like you i miss lilacs and buddleia (which i have grown here but only with moderate success (in my zone 10b). the buddleia lasts for at most a year and then drops dead so, i started searching for what i can have and will grow happily in zone 10. this is how i discovered cornutia. i received your dmail and will continue there since the remainder will probably not interest the forum readers very much. see you in dmail!

Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Vitrsna -

We have very rich soil in our yard now. We've added bags upon bag of topsoil and my husband uses a mulching mower. When we started on our yard we had nothing but coral and sand, now we have very rich soil (it has taken about 6 years though). I have the perfect spot for this groundcover in my side yard where I am replanting.

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