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ARISTOLOCHIA clematitis

Image of Aristolochia clematitis

Jesse Saylor

Family

Aristolochiaceae

Botanical Name

ARISTOLOCHIA clematitis

Plant Common Name

Birthwort

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Pretty heart-shaped leaves and small yellow flowers on birthwort brings an aire of oddity and beauty to the perennial border. An upright and then arching herbaceous perennial native to southern Europe, it will creep its rhizomes (underground stems) to form a clump.

The light to medium green leaves are spade- or heart-shaped and are pretty as they line the stems that are first upright and then begin to weep. In late spring and early summer, small light yellow flowers occur in small clusters in at the bases of the leaves. The tubular blossom has a curved and large upper lip. All parts of the plant release a foul odor.

Grow birthwort in full sun to partial shade exposures in any fertile soil of average moisture that does not become soggy. It is particularly important that soil is not overly wet in the winter when the plant is dormant. Use this as an accent clump for conversation in a mixed border, or massed as a groundcover in an open woodland. Place it near a walkway or path so the pretty foliage, interesting flowers and the stinking characterisitics can be admired or yield conversation!

The sap of the leaves and stems can cause skin irritations.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Southern Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Sandy Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Groundcover, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No