Giant Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia gigantea, is a fast growing semi-deciduous vine with bizarre, oddly-shaped flowers exceeding a foot long.
The mouth of flower expands to an enormous size and looks like a piece of maroon velvet cloth with pink and cream netted veins. In the center, there is a yellow-orange throat that leads into a closed pouch. From the back, the s-shaped tubular pouch resembles a 19th century Dutch pipe (recall Sherlock Holmes’ pipe). Aristolochia gigantea is native to Brazil and parts of Central America.
While easy to grow, this vine does need support. We grow many of our vines like Dutchman’s pipe on simple supports made from pressure treated, eight-foot wooden posts. We drill holes through the upper part of the post and insert short sections of copper pipe for the vines to twist and twirl around.
An example of the post and the plant can be seen on the Armstrong campus on the west side of Burnett Hall.