Aristolochia baetica / birthwort flowers

Aristolochia baetica flowers. This species of Aristolochia is native to southern Portugal, Spain and north Africa.
Aristolochia baetica flowers. This species of Aristolochia is native to southern Portugal, Spain and north Africa.

Aristolochia plants have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. However, their active component – aristolochic acid – is known to be carcinogenic and several studies have linked use of the plant in herbal medicines with cancer.

Aristolochias are sometimes known as birthwort and/or Dutchman’s pipe vines.

The large-leaved Dutchman’s pipe vine (Aristolochia macrophylla) is often grown as a low-maintenance climber and is a useful (but deciduous) plant to use for screening in planting schemes.

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5 thoughts on “Aristolochia baetica / birthwort flowers”

  1. What a wonderful flower – how far down is the nectar? I would have thought it will be quite difficult for insects to get to if they are all they way down the bend!

    1. I think, but am not certain, that the nectar is way down at the bottom of the flower and that little flies are lured in and then kept trapped inside overnight by the downward pointing hairs. Then the hairs fall off and the flies can escape the next day, covered in pollen to go off and do it all again and at the same time fertilise another flower.

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