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California Dutchman's Pipe Aristolochia californica


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California Dutchman's Pipe, flower
© Lynn Lozier

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Alternate name: California Pipevine

Family: Aristolochiaceae, Birthwort view all from this family

Description Native perennial woody vine (or less commonly, a shrub). A deciduous vine with purple-striped curving pipe-shaped flowers, whose unpleasant odor is attractive to tiny carrion-feeding insects. After it blooms, the plant sends out new green heart-shaped leaves. Fruits are green winged capsules. The vines grow from rhizomes to a length of over twenty feet and can become quite thick in circumference at maturity.

Flower April-June.

Habitat moist woods and riparian zones.

Range Northern and central California.

Discussion This plant is the sole food source of the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor).