Virginia snakeroot seed

Stanton, NE

I'd like to share packets of Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria) seed with the community again this fall. The Virginia snakeroot is a preferred native hostplant by the pipevine swallowtail. Establishing this plant will help to attract this particular butterfly to butterfly gardens.

Contact me for address information, and send me a SASE so I can get the seed into your hands in short order!


Rod A.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Hello Rod :)

I'll be sending you a D-mail! :)

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Hello Again Rod,

I know this is your thread on seeds, but I thought you'd like to see how well the roots you gave me are doing...
Here's an update/pic of the great Virginia Snakeroot you sent me. They are doing great, but grow relatively slow. I'm considering covering them up with muslin until they get bigger. I'm afraid if a female lays eggs, there won't be enough to support one Cat, never mind a bunch...big sigh.
I'm also going to have to cover 2 Cassia Hebecarpa, a Purple Prairie Clover and 2 False Nettle...all with the same issues...they are all growing so slow. I'm thinking they will all have to remain covered this year and next year after they are established, they will be larger so they can sustain several cats each. I don't want to have to buy these plants again since they are all perennials. Oh well...

This message was edited Jun 19, 2009 1:07 AM

This message was edited Jun 19, 2009 9:44 AM

Thumbnail by SusanLouise
NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

I've had the same problem about that species. But then, too, I don't have to worry much because I probably have enough A. fimbriata to feed cats as long as there isn't too many. I had one A. serpentaria that has spread to become several plants but all rather small. Last year I used them as a little bit of extra food for the cats when A. fimbriata was running low. Fortunately, the A. fimbriata had new growth in time to feed the ever-hungry cats afterward and then they were pupating. Anyway, someone generously shared one A. triloba plant with me and I have high hopes for it...beautiful foliage!

Stanton, NE

Hi Susan,

Thanks for the update on the plant's health. Yes, the Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria) is a slow grower, and a small plant. They get larger each year, but even with mature plants, it may take several to support the feeding habit of one PVS cat. The plant is also considered rare in some parts of its native range, having been overharvested in the past by people intent on profiting from its medicinal values, which values are currently in question by the FDA.

Although small, the Virginia snakeroot does offer some advantages:
1) It is a native plant, and non-invasive
2) Some have indicated the Virginia snakeroot is a preferred host plant for the pipevine swallowtail. If you have other forms of Aristolochia that are friendly to the PVS, then the small cats can be transferred after they hatch out on the A. serpentaria.
3) The plant does well in shade where other butterfly plants may not thrive

I'm hoping to harvest some Virginia snakeroot seed this fall to share with the membership. Those who would like me to send them a packet of seed can send me a D-mail and I'll add you to the list.

Happy butterflying to all!

Rod A.

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