There are a few very peculiar specimens in my garden, thanks to Roger Boddaert. They have nothing to do with edible forest gardens, drought tolerant plants or permaculture. They simply are fun. One of which is the Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia), named that because it’s very odd buds look something like… well… the pipe a Dutchman might smoke, I’m guessing. I’m thinking that the Dutchman was either blind or drinking heavily to put something that looked like this in his mouth! Another less imaginative name for this variety is Calico Flower. They look like hanging squash when they are immature.
There are many varieties of this vigorous vine, each having different sized flowers. Mine has flowers in Summer and Fall, and they are sizable.
The vines can grow 30 feet high, and the plant can easily cover the side of a house. They originate in the Southern United States, preferring moist soil.
This is the larval host plant for the blue and black pipevine swallowtail butterfly, which don’t migrate this far west. Perhaps something else will find it useful.
The flower develops as a miniature version of its large self, and then continues to grow into these sack-like buds. When ready, they fold open to become flat, with the seed pod in the back. The flowers catch the wind and twist on their stems like decorations. Or like those things in the original Star Trek that flew across the cave and attached themselves to Spock’s back. So another fun and kind of creepy plant, which will provide shade, food for butterflies, and a lot of conversation starting. Gotta love it!