Surreptitiously snaking up the north-facing wall of Logan’s walled garden, this intriguing climber has a fascinating flower, which unfolds its pale exterior to reveal a blood red throat.
The flower’s aromatic scent attracts insects and provokes conflicting responses from the gardening team at Logan; whilst some of us find the smell particularly repugnant, others are not so perturbed by the strong musty scent.
Aristolochia griffithii is in the family Aristolochiaceae and is native to Assam, China (South-Central), East Himalaya, Myanmar, Nepal and Tibet.
In it’s native habitat, the leaves of the climber are eaten by the caterpillar larvae of swallowtail butterflies, whereby the chemicals in the leaf endow the caterpillars with an unpalatable flavour, making them less appealing to predators.
The common name of the plant is ‘Dutchman’s pipe’ and the name is derived from the shape of the flowers, which resemble Meerschaum pipes, which were once commonly smoked in the Netherlands.