03 March Aristolochia elegans (ARISTOLOCHIACEAE) Dutchman’s Pipe

Weeds Calendar

Description A smothering climber with heart-shaped leaves and pipe-shaped flowers native to Brazil and Argentina. Crushed leaves and cut stems give off an offensive “nail polish” smell.

Photo: Mark Crocker

Why it’s bad It attracts the Richmond Birdwing butterfly, but kills the butterfly’s caterpillars with toxins in the leaves. All the parts of the plant are poisonous and should not be handled without gloves.

Control Cut near the base and paint with neat herbicide. Carefully collect any fruit or seed and take off site for disposal.

Alternatives Replace with Richmond Birdwing Vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa). The plants need to be at least three years old, healthy and vigorous. Feed and water well.

Native alternative Richmond Birdwing Vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa) Photo: Don Sands