Aristolochia Species, Giant Dutchman's Pipe, Giant Pelican Flower

Aristolochia gigantea

Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Aristolochia (a-ris-toh-LOH-kee-uh) (Info)
Species: gigantea (jy-GAN-tee-uh) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Daleville, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Concord, California

Encinitas, California

Granite Bay, California

Huntington Beach, California

Los Alamitos, California

San Diego, California

Simi Valley, California

Bartow, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fort Mc Coy, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Lynn Haven, Florida

Naples, Florida(3 reports)

New Port Richey, Florida

Oakland, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Rotonda West, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Hamilton, Georgia

Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Barbourville, Kentucky

Zachary, Louisiana

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Madison, New Jersey

Xenia, Ohio

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Beaumont, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

College Station, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Flower Mound, Texas

Friendswood, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Houston, Texas(4 reports)

Lake Jackson, Texas

Los Fresnos, Texas

Pearland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Tomball, Texas

Willis, Texas

Smithfield, Virginia

, Walloon Region

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 5, 2020, Kat59 from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

I have this growing in my garden in Spring Hill, FL. I is hosting the pipe vine swallow tail with no problems. The are big, fat and juicy.


On Jun 11, 2018, Vacoastgal from Virginia Beach, VA wrote:

If grieing the Giant Pipevine for the Pipevine Swallowtail, it's toxic to the caterpillars. Instead grow the Native Dutchman's Pipevine.


On Jun 23, 2012, CatsandPlants from Vero Beach, FL wrote:

I just came from one of our local nurseries here in Vero Beach, Florida where they have a mature butterfly garden containing this plant. It has hosted over 400 swallowtail caterpillars this season! They are very careful with their use of pesticides in the garden.
The new systemic pesticides remain in the plants for almost a year so buyers need to be aware if they have been treated by the selling nursery.
When we bought the plant originally one of the sales associates showed us their butterfly garden in the back of the nursery covered with caterpillars of all sizes and we were excited to find an addition to our butterfly garden that was both showy and an impressive host plant. Being new to butterfly gardening we were not aware of all the conseq... read more


On May 6, 2012, rudibirt from Madison, NJ wrote:

I just wanted to comment on the negative and neutral posts regarding the Dutchman's Pipevine. I raise butterflies for a hobby. So far, I have raised Monarchs, Eastern Black Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails and Pipevine Swallowtails.
The Pipevine Swallowtail uses the Dutchman's Pipevine as its host plant (plant it lays its eggs on). Host plants include plants from the Pipevine Family, such as Dutchman's Pipe and Virginia Snakeroot. Pipevine Larvae (caterpillars) will not eat any other types of plants. Without these plants the caterpillars will die. I can not imagine any reason the caterpillars would have died on the previous poster's plant with the exception that it may have been sprayed with pesticide. (Another good reason for not using pesticies in our gardens.) Unless your... read more


On Dec 19, 2011, dez42 from Naples, FL wrote:

I have a huge vine here in Naples Florida. It is definitely a garden rather than landscape plant, because if not attended to it can literally run wild! But it IS a pollinator plant, and I never heard of it harming butterflies. It is a host /larval plant for the pipevine swallowtails here and many alien looking caterpillars have been born here--in spring 100s-yes 100s!- of baby black swallowtails! The yellow Tiger swallowtails visit it too, and it does not seem to harm them in the least!


On Nov 17, 2011, COA1955 from Snyder, CO wrote:

Please do not plant this species in your garden, or any of the related tropical pipevine plants, like Aristolochia elegans. They are toxic to our beautiful native Pipevine Swallowtail that will lay eggs on it as they would the native pipevine plants. Unfortunately, the larvae soon die after eating of the leaves. Several of these alien pipevines are becoming invasive in Florida and may eventually have an impact on the population of one of our most beautiful butterflies. Thank you!


On May 15, 2011, digforrestdig from West Palm Beach, FL wrote:

This vine has out performed every other vine on our fence. The passion vine was no match, and it just completely swallowed up the Mexican Flame causing it to grow on its side. (Looks kind of cool) I first thought the sky vine would keep it in check because that is an insanely fast grower. However, gigantea just swallowed that up too like it was something delectable.


On Feb 26, 2011, BuddyBear from Spring, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

While pruning and trimming in the garden today, I collected several seed pods from my Dutchman's Pipe. Very easy and looking forward to planting. However, I am concerned about the earlier comment about these plants being "death" to the pipevine swallowtail....because I frequently saw small and some medium-sized larvae on the plant, then they disappeared. Has anybody else experienced this with this plant? I realize the larve are sometimes impossible to find when they crawl off to finish their journey, but this is a bit troubling. Thanks for your comments.


On Jan 4, 2011, Plants4myPots from Palm Bay, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I got some cuttings of this plant from a neighbor, which sadly perished quickly due to some actual cold winter weather here in Florida. I tried to bring the pot inside to protect them, but the wind-bruised leaves really stunk up the dining room. The smell of the leaves is not a deterrent for me as long as the plant is outside.

I did come across one point that MIGHT be a NEGATIVE for this plant, though. While the cuttings (which had blooms on them) were busy dying, the blooms fell off the vine. The dropped blooms actually looked like perfect little piles of doggie doo-doo in the lawn. I don't know if the blooms usually drop, or if they usually decay on the vine and only dropped because they were cuttings, but I think the plant is gorgeous and I plan on replacing it as so... read more


On Nov 27, 2010, GeriLynn from Daleville, AL wrote:

Absolutely love this plant. Tends to escape the trellis and run wild, but well worth it. Everyone who sees it wants to know all about it. Lovely large purple flowers. Got the small plant two years ago from our local Master Gardeners Plant Sale. Thought it had died over the winter, but it came back healthy and strong. Still in full bloom today- Nov 26, 2010.


On Jun 23, 2010, eliasastro from Athens,
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

A fantastic climber, hardy in Athens, Greece.
In a pot it's size is somewhat controlled, if sown in the ground it gets huge especially after a frostless winter and it flowers enormously!
If there is frost it dies down and regrows in spring but with fewer flowers.
I bought a large potted plant that flowered immediately.
I also sowed seeds in late May (harvested last winter from a friend's plant) that germinated in 3 weeks!
Seeds must be fresh and the seedpod must have matured on the plant (when this happens it dries and opens at the top).


On May 16, 2010, KATHNCREW from Childers,
Australia wrote:

I am looking for information of where the origins of this plant is, I am in Australia, QLD and have several of them constantly flowering and we have them climbing up old tree tumps. I am wanting more information about propagating and where they come from. Cheers kath


On Nov 7, 2009, azulivines from Burnaby, BC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This vine being one of the hardest to obtain in Canada (unless you start it from seed), is well worth the search. I grew one specimen in the greenhouse, and the other in my south-facing front window. Both specimens grew like mad from spring til october with flowering on October 27. I fertilized the indoor specimen plant with super-thrive from August-September, and the greenhouse grown specimen was not fertilized.

I didn't notice any foul smell when in flower, and I could be found staring at the open flower for hours as it's so mesmerizing. STUNNING.

As I grew one specimen indoors, south-facing, above the base-heater, by the fireplace, this vine is suitable for indoor growth, but is best kept in check (which is a plus, as flowers sprout from new wood) as it... read more


On Oct 7, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Started as a rooted cutting last fall. In the garage for the winter. I thought it was dead, then it put out some vines. Put it in a big pot with and upside down tomato cage for trellis. Started to really take off in July. First flower in October. I water it about twice a week.


On Feb 17, 2009, lepfarmer from Red Oak, TX wrote:

As Sheila_FW pointed out, this pipevine is NOT used by Pipevine Swallowtails. Females lay eggs and larvae die eating this particular species. However, it IS a host plant for the Polydamas Swallowtail. Plant is certainly a fast grower and the flowers are spectacular.


On Sep 25, 2008, huggy from Naples, FL wrote:

My plant is growing well. I bought it in May 2008, however my Aristolochia is not blooming. Is there something that I should be doing to get some blooms. It is getting taller and taller but not one flower.


On Jun 18, 2008, Sheila_FW from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have just learned that the a. gigantea is a death sentence for the Pipevine Swallowtail. Several of my friends on the Hummingbird and Butterfly forum that raise caterpillars like myself; say the cats the eat from that plant die. The female butterfly will still lay her eggs on it but after hatching and beginning to eat, the larva don't make it.
I only planted it as a butterfly host plant, so bye bye gigantea!


On Sep 29, 2007, jorge123 from Orlando, FL wrote:

I planted this plant 3 years ago,got it by accident,but I like it the massive flowers,, always become a topic of conversion.It can be invassive,its a very fast grower,but this is kind of a good thing since catapillers seem to be able to devower it very quickly,it grows back just in time for the next set of butterflies and their larva.the flowers scent is mild and pleasant, but cut the stem or crush the leaves and it produces a pungent not so desirable smell.It has done well in drout and heavy rainy seasons, I would recommend this plant if you have the space and your zone and climate is close to my here in Orlando


On Jun 19, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant grows very well at the Jacksonville (Florida) Zoo and Gardens in two places in the "Range of the Jaguar" exhibit. It is always a conversation starter with its strange dark brown flowers. It is in a somewhat protected outdoor location, but did survive temperatures last winter of around 28 F on a few nights. I'm hoping to get some cuttings rotted soon.



On Apr 21, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Although, I enjoy these vines and its exotic blooms. The scent is a bit pungent. This I believe is emits by injured leaves and vine, not from the flower itself. It's a great conversational piece. However, I found they're not hardy here in my zone.


On Mar 19, 2006, Calalily from Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is so easy! It gets huge, the pipevine swallowtails love it for larval food and it flowers almost year round. The foliage stinks if crushed, but the flowers smell like lemons.
It survived a brief freeze a couple of years ago. It lost its leaves, but quickly recovered.


On Aug 25, 2005, Liila from Lantana, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This has turned into one of my handful of die hard favorites. Fast growing, tolerant of neglectful watering and/or lackadaisical care, deeply appreciative of any extra fuss by blooming more prolifically. It's so beautiful, and I'm continually delighted by the fresh lemon scent wafting from those outrageously bizarre looking blooms!

It's been a rough summer here in South Florida zone 10, hot hot hot and dry. Some of my plants have fried to a crisp, even in shade. Sigh. But this plant is thriving in full morning sun and partial afternoon shade. It loves the heat and humidity. I can't recommend it enough to my friends, though it seems that online is the only way to find it.

You have to get used to sharing it with caterpillars. It's particularly distressing when t... read more


On Aug 23, 2005, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I bought a small cutting start of this at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale this spring and planted it near my woodpile in the Catskills expecting a spectacular show. Despite the record heat this summer, it has not produced a single new leaf--although none of the others look stressed. Guess its just too cold. I am thinking of potting it up and bringing it inside.


On Aug 23, 2005, eengland from San Diego & San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

A. gigantea is easy to grow and a vigourous vine sometimes becoming invasive. It can be grown from seed or from cutting. I have done OK at both although I am not a great horticulturist. It is most important with the cuttings to grow them in a warm environment to have success and most people say that they are hard to propogate from cutting (not *my* experience but that is the word on the street).

In my opinion, some of the images here are not in the correct category. You will see above that some flowers are large and somewhat droopy and not as deeply coloured and others are smaller, darker, and more structurally sound. The larger droopier ones have a distinct lemony smell that is noticable a *small* distance from the plant when it is in bloom and - in my opinion - it is ... read more


On Jul 23, 2005, maggiemoo from Conroe, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I said my experience is positive, but actually I have just planted mine. I do know people who grow it successfully both in Conroe and Tomball, and I saw it last week grown quite successfully in a butterfly garden in Austin (The Natural Gardener.) It is the larval food of the Pipe-vine Swallowtail, one of the main reasons I am now growing it. In the butterfly garden in Austin, they were growing this vine as a ground-cover, which is what I am doing (no room for another trellis.)


On Apr 6, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I planted it from seed (the seeds have a great germination ration, it seems), and I have now a 6 years old vine growing in the porch of my apartment. I cant take care of it where I live. It doesnt have room to grow, and the light is inadequate, so it never bloomed. But Im confident that it will make it as soon as we move to a house, with an actual yard.

The only place I know this is cultivated here in Rio de Janeiro is the Botanical Garden. I hear people complaining about its smell, but honestly, I never sensed any smell from it. This plant should get more attention.


On Feb 8, 2004, Pua from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had great success growing my Gigantea in a pot. It twined up over my kitchen window. Bloomed until late Fall. Here it is Feb and it is still green. Very rewarding.