Photo guide to weeds

Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia spp. other than native species)

  • Close up photograph of the trumpet or bell-shaped flower of the Dutchman's pipe plant
    Dutchman's pipe flower
  • Photo of the Dutchmans Pipe
    Dutchman's pipe

General information

Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia spp.) is an environmental weed that is widely promoted as an unusual, easily cultivated ornamental plant. It is very similar to the native plants which are a natural food plant for a number of Australian butterflies, but is however a deadly alternative as it tricks the butterflies into laying their eggs on its leaves and then poisons the larvae when they hatch and begin to feed. The survival of the rare Richmond birdwing butterfly Ornithoptera richmondia is threatened by this plant.

Dutchman's pipe is a declared Class 3 pest plant under Queensland legislation.

Overview

Scientific name Aristolochia spp.
Description
  • Vine very fast-growing that can reach 3m in length.
  • Stems are woody, slender and twine tightly in coils around any supporting structure.
  • Leaves are alternate, glossy-green and heart-shaped or broadly triangular up to 75mm long,. Leaves grow closely to form a dense mat of foliage.
  • Flowers are striking, reddish-purple and marked with white and yellow and shaped like a traditional Dutchman's pipe up to 10cm wide and 7.5cm long
  •  Fruit is a capsule that is 6 ribbed and split open along these ribs to release seeds
  • Seeds are numerous and brown 6-7mm long
Habitat
  • Popular in gardens and suburban backyards.
  • Prefers moist, fertile soils.
  • Prime invader of rainforest.
Distribution
  • Native to South America and West Indies
  • Naturalised in several areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Life cycle
  • Flowers and sets seed mainly in summer
Spread
  • Spreads by seed and dumping of garden waste
Impacts Environmental
  • Prime invader of rainforest habitat.
  • Resembles the natural food plants of butterflies but poisons the larvae when they begin to feed.

Social

  • Threatens the survival of the rare birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia).
Prevention

The best form of weed control is prevention. Treat weed infestations when they are small - do not allow weeds to establish.
Ways to prevent weed spread

Control

Physical control

  • Remove manually.
  • Pull or dig out small plants, ensuring crowns and roots are removed.
  • Cut down vigorous growth with a brush hook or similar tool, preferably before seeds set.
  • Trace vines to main crown and cut with a knife well below this growing point.
  • Remove all parts of the plant from the soil.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides can be effective.

See the Dutchman's pipe fact sheet  (PDF, 484.6KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • There is no biological control agent available for this plant.
Declaration details
  • not a declared species under Queensland legislation but may be declared under local government law

Last updated 12 March 2014