Aristolochia littoralis

Source: cat_collector

Aristolochia littoralis

Aristolochia littoralis or Dutchman’s pipe is a climber with very attractive bright green foliage that can cover a screen very rapidly.

It flowers abundantly the whole summer.

Easy to grow in the garden or in pot, needs a sturdy climbing support.


Aristolochia littoralis is a climbing plant of 3-4.5 meters long. The thin stems are woody.

The leaves are light green, heart shaped, 7-9 centimeters long and 5-10 centimeters wide and form a dense foliage.

The flowers are tubular, greenish yellow with dark purple marks, about 7-8 centimeters long and 10 cm in diameter and appear in leaf axils. The inner surface of the mouth is completely dark purple. The flowering period extends throughout the summer. Fertilization is ensured by flies attracted by an unpleasant carrion odor.

The fruit is an elongated, dehiscent capsule, 4.5 cm long and 2.5 cm in diameter. The seeds are flat, winged, 6 mm long.


Commons names:

Calico flower, Dutchman’s pipe, elegant Dutchman’s pipe, pelican flower, pipe vine


Aristolochia elegans, Aristolochia elegans var. hassleriana, Aristolochia hassleriana


Aristolochia: from the Greek aristos (best) and locheia (childbirth, childbed)
Littoralis: from the Latin lītorālis (from the seashore)


South America, mainly Brazil


Rainforests, closed forests, urban forestland, disturbed places, roads, waste areas, waterways and forest edges in tropical and subtropical areas.


Perennial in USDA zones 9 and 10
Annual in USDA zone 8: the plant will die above ground but sprout again next spring



Can grow in poor and sandy soils


Shade, partial shade


Doesn’t need much water, is drought resistant


Toxic! Most aristolochias contain alkaloids which are very toxic to the kidneys! Symptoms vary from intense pain to death, depending on the absorbed dose. So don’t grow this plant if you have children or pets.


Sowing and cutting, both very easy

Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds for a couple of days in tepid water
  • sow in light soil
  • keep at 20-30 °C
  • germination: 3 to 4 weeks
  • repot when the seedlings are big enough to handle
  • in pot or in the garden