Aristolochia is a large genus of plants with over 500 species, belonging to the Birthwort family (Aristolochiaceae).
This a genus of evergreen and deciduous woody vines and herbaceous perennials. They are widespread and occur in the most diverse climates, but not in Australia.
The smooth stem is erect or somewhat twining.
The simple leaves are alternate and cordate, membranous, growing on leaf stalks. There are no stipules.
The flowers grow in the leaf axils. They are inflated and globose at the base, continuing as a long perianth tube, ending in a tongue-shaped, brightly colored lobe. There is no corolla. These flowers have a specialized pollination mechanism. The plants are aromatic and their strong scent attracts insects. The inner part of the perianth tube is covered with hairs, acting as a fly-trap. These hairs then wither to release the fly, covered with pollen.
The calyx is 1- to 3-whorled and 3- to 6-toothed. The sepals are united (= gamosepalous). There are 6 to 40 stamens in one whorl. They are united with the style, forming a gynostemium.
The ovary is inferior and is 4- to 6-locular.
The fruit is dehiscent capsule with many endospermic seeds.
Some species are commonly called Dutchman's Pipe, Pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla), Birthwort (Aristolochia clematitis), and Virginia Snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria). The first three names come from the shape of the flowers, which resembles a pipe and a birth canal. Birthwort was given to women in labor to expel the placenta, but since aristolochic acid is a poison, it sometimes resulted in the mother dying. Nevertheless, aristolochic acid is said to cure wounds or snakebites in a spectacular way. Decoctions of birthwort stimulate the production of white corpuscles and increase their activity. Furthermore, birthwort contains a disinfectant which drains off fluid from the wound. Birthwort was therefore highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
- Aristolochia anguicida : Harlequin Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia bilabiata : West Indian Dutchman's Pipe.
- Aristolochia bilobata : Twolobe Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia californica : Western Dutchman's-Pipe, California Dutchman's-Pipe..
- Aristolochia clematitis : European Birthwort.
- Aristolochia coryi : Cory's Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia cymbifera
- Aristolochia durior / Aristolochia macrophylla : Dutchman's-Pipe, Pipe Vine.
- Aristolochia erecta : Swanflower.
- Aristolochia grandiflora : Pelican Flower.
- Aristolochia labiata : Mottled Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia littoralis / Aristolochia elegans: Elegant Dutchman's-Pipe, Calico Flower.
- Aristolochia longa : Long Aristolochia, Sarrasine.
- Aristolochia macrophylla : Pipe Vine.
- Aristolochia maxima : Florida Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia odoratissima : Fragrant Dutchman's Pipe.
- Aristolochia ornithocephala : Bird's Head.
- Aristolochia peltata : Peltate Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia pentandra : Marsh's Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia pistolochia : Birthwort.
- Aristolochia reticulata : Red-River Snakeroot, Texas Dutchman's-Pipe..
- Aristolochia ringens : Gaping Dutchman's -Pipe.
- Aristolochia serpentaria : Virginia Snakeroot.
- Aristolochia tomentosa : Woolly Pipe Vine, Woolly Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia trilobata : Bejuco de Santiago.
- Aristolochia watsonii : Watson's Dutchman's-Pipe.
- Aristolochia wrightii
Ref: ITIS 18328