Aristolochia gigantea

Source: Own work

Aristolochia gigantea
Botanical Garden Meise

Aristolochia gigantea or Giant Dutchman’s Pipe is a vigorous climber with remarkable, huge flowers up to 30 cm long and 15 cm wide.

The flowers are smaller and less smelly than those of Aristolochia grandiflora.

It is a very easy plant that grows abundantly. It is suitable to rapidly cover a wall or fence. In USDA zone 8 it can be grown as an annual outside.


Aristolochia gigantea is a vine that can climb 20 meters high but usually grows 5-10 m high. The bark is cork-like and deeply grooved.

The leaves are egg or heart-shaped, alternate, densely covered with white hairs on the underside, measuring up to 15 cm long and 11 cm wide. The color is a beautiful bright green.

The flowers appear singly or in groups on older lots. They have somewhat the shape of a pipe and measure up to 30 cm long and 15 cm wide. The color is dark red with cream-colored veins. They spread a carrion smell to attract flies for pollination.

The fruits are sausage-shaped capsules, 8-13 cm long and 1-3 cm wide, which burst open when mature to release the numerous seeds.


Common names:

Calico Flower, Dutchmans Pipe, Giant Dutchman’s Pipe, Pelican Flower


Aristolochia clypeata, Aristolochia cordiflora, Aristolochia sylvicola


Aristolochia: from the Greek aristos (excellent, best) and lochos (delivery), which would refer to the afterbirth.
Gigantea: from the Greek giganteios (gigantic).


Panama to Brazil


Tropical forest and stream banks.


USDA zones 10-11, 0 °C



Is satisfied with any soil, provided that it is well drained.


Full sun to partial shade.


Water moderately in the summer, tolerates short periods of drought.


Fertilize monthly during growing season.


Prune late in the winter or early in the spring to give some model to the plant and limit growth.



Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds in water for 48 h
  • plant 1 seed per pot, in a light sowing mix
  • mist the substrate so that it is moist but not wet
  • cover the pots to limit evaporation
  • place the pots in a warm place with at least 6 h of sunlight per day. When not enough light, complement with a growing lamp.
  • germination: 15-30 days
  • can be planted outside once the temperature reaches 20 °C