Aristolochia

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Alisdair

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Aristolochia
« on: July 16, 2011, 08:16:03 AM »
Aristolochia gigantea has I think the largest flowers of any climber grown in mediterranean climates, up to about 40cm across. The spectacular flowers have the bonus of an attractive faintly lemony scent (not to be confused with the vile stench of its rather similarly named cousin A. grandiflora). We grow it in our southern Greek garden on a high south-facing wall. It is extremely strong-growing, really quite a strangler, apparently reaching up to 30 metres in the wild - we have to cut it back ruthlessly each year to keep it reasonably within bounds. I have also seen it growing in the south of France and Spain, and Oron Peri has it in his Israel garden.
We irrigated it originally. It is now no longer watered, but I suspect that its greedy roots may have reached over to tap the water that a lime tree gets, growing a few metres away.
The little white flower is of a very appealing climber we grow with it, Pandorea jasminoides 'Red Eyes'.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2011, 09:41:15 AM »
A much more modest Aristolochia is this little chap, Aristolochia sempervirens:
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The "mouth" of the flower is only about a centimetre across, if that. It grows naturally in the "wild" part of our Greek garden, and may possibly be a food plant for the caterpillars of the swallowtail butterfly - a North American swallowtail species is known as the Pipevine Swallowtail because it feeds only on aristolochias. Worth encouraging for the flowers, modest, but appealing in their odd way and very much worth a close look. It grows wild too in Italy and has been introduced to the south of France.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 09:59:23 AM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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eolate

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 02:59:49 PM »
Another Aristolochia is A. chilensis, endemic to Chile, you can find it from the south part of the Atacama Desert (25º lat South) down to Santiago surroundings (33º lat South), mainly in very sunny stony areas. (Photo: Francisca Cornejo).
Greetings from Mediterranean Chile!

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 04:16:44 PM »
And greetings to the forum's first member in Chile!
Very interesting-looking, Eduardo, thanks; coming from the Atacama among other places it looks as if it will be happy in our Greek garden, so thanks to your message I have now ordered seeds of it (the seed company also had seeds of Argylia radiata syn. canescens, which looks as if it will be able to stand the fiercest drought that the Mediterranean can throw at it, so I have also ordered seeds of that....)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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JTh

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 05:08:27 PM »
An even more modest one is A. rotunda, which grows wild in somewhat shaded areas here in Halkidiki. It is easily recognised by the brown-red 'lip' of the flower bending over the opening of the tube. The leaves are, as the name says, round, or oval. It does not seem to climb.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

Umbrian

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 06:35:43 AM »
I would like to" second" Alisdair's welcome to Eduardo from Chile. How good to know, that through the forum, we can be in touch with members from the more far flung parts of the world.   :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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John

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 09:27:04 PM »
Yes me too. Hi Eduardo. I have tried growing South American Aristolochias from seed over the years and produced some small plants which eventually died out on me. I think they would have been better in a dry border which I don't have rather than pots that are too small for them. Whilst in Catalonia I did notice this one which I think is likely to be South American but I didn't see a label. Can anyone name it?
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2011, 07:09:23 AM »
Looks like Aristolochia fimbriata, from the East side of South America.
Oron - who is hot on Aristolochias, may disagree!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Marilyn

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 02:42:02 PM »
Have to give a mention to our local native species, Aristolochia baetica. Another good foodplant for the butterfly and a similarly unassuming but subtly charming species. Heart-shaped, sometimes slightly glaucous leaves; very drought-hardy; a nice thing to allow to scramble through the lower branches of Lentiscs, Quercus etc, or allow to froth up into a small shrubby groundcover.
I work in hotel and private gardens, promoting sustainable landscape management in the mediterranean climate through the use of diverse, beautiful and appropriate plants. At home, I garden on two balconies containing mostly succulents.

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 03:05:44 PM »
Good thought, Marilyn (and great to meet you last week on Mallorca!).
Around our Greek garden Aristolochia longa grows wild, scrambling about in the same sort of way. One study (click here to see it) found it to be an even more useful caterpillar food than A. baetica, because of its faster young growth and apparently greater nutritional value.
As you can see from the picture, it's a curious rather than a beautiful plant!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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Marilyn

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 10:40:13 AM »
Hello Alisdair, thanks for the info; good to meet you too. I hope it will be the first of many such meetings for me!
Lovely photo, I have to say I find most curious plants very beautiful. It is one of my many, many particular plant passions - the "weird" ones :) I have not seen A. longa here in our garden but it may exist elsewhere in the Algarve, will have to research that.
I work in hotel and private gardens, promoting sustainable landscape management in the mediterranean climate through the use of diverse, beautiful and appropriate plants. At home, I garden on two balconies containing mostly succulents.

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 11:09:23 AM »
Two more for you, Marilyn, both seen on our MGS trip to SW Turkey in spring last year: the endemic Aristolochia lycica, and then Aristolochia hirta.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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JTh

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 11:32:32 AM »
You had more luck with your photo of A. hirta than I had, Alissair, I like these strange plants as well a lot. Here is another photo of A. lycica from the same trip
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 08:54:39 PM by JTh »
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: Aristolochia
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 11:36:28 AM »
You've got the lycica flower so much better than I did, Jorun!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

ezeiza

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Re: John's Aristolochia
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 07:11:42 PM »
John's plant is Aristolochia fimbriata, NOT a climber. Some forms washed pewter and silver all over are simply fabulous.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:20:57 AM by Alisdair »