Aristolochia elegans, A. littoralis, Dutchman's pipe, Calico flower, Pipevine, Duck flower, 20+ fresh seeds April '23!
Aristolochia littoralis, the calico flower or مورپنکھ بیل or elegant Dutchman's pipe, is a species of evergreen vine belonging to the family Aristolochiaceae.
The scientific name Aristolochia was developed from Ancient Greek aristos (άριστος) "best" + locheia (λοχεία), "childbirth" or "childbed", as in ancient times the plant was thought to be effective against infections caused by childbirth. The species Latin name littoralis means “coastal”.
Aristolochia littoralis is a climbing vine that can reach about 3–4.5 metres (9.8–14.8 ft) in length. The slender stems are woody and the leaves are bright green, cordate, amplexicaul, 7–9 centimetres (2.8–3.5 in) long and 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) wide, forming a dense attractive foliage. Flowers are heart-shaped, greenish yellow with intricate purplish-brown markings. These unusual flowers are about 7–8 centimetres (2.8–3.1 in) long, grow solitary in the leaf axils and resemble Sherlock Holmes's pipe (hence the common name of "Dutchman's pipe"). The inner surface of the flared mouth is completely purplish-brown. The flowering period extends through all summer. These plants are pollinated by flies which are attracted by the unpleasant carrion-like odor produced by the flowers. The numerous winged seeds are borne in dry dehiscent capsules that split like small parachutes. As the seeds are winged they are easily dispersed by wind. Plants in the related genus Pararistolochia differ by having fleshy moist fruit that do not split. This plant contains aristolochic acid, a toxic alkaloid.
Calico flower vine's (Aristoclochia elegans) exotic, maroon-mottled ivory blooms grab attention from summer to fall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 12. Dangling from curving stalks, the flowers open from unusual, white and purple-webbed green buds. The Brazilian native, also classified as Aristolochia littoralis, ascends 6 feet or higher and covers its supports with dense, heart-shaped leaves. Pest- and disease-resistant calico flower is happy in dappled sun or light shade. It tolerates heat, drought and humidity and -- in the right conditions -- germinates readily from seed.
Soak the seeds in water for 48 hours before planting. Start calico flower seeds indoors in midwinter, as an earlier start means a longer blooming season.
Moisten some commercial seed starter medium. You can also make your own with equal parts of peat moss, potting soil and perlite. The seeds need a well-draining medium that remains consistently moist.
Fill pots to within 1 inch of their rims. You can use seed trays, clay or plastic garden pots or peat pots. Choose a container with drainage holes.
Place the seeds on the soil, one inch apart if you're planting a flat. Scatter two or three seeds on the surface of individual pots. Don't cover them because they need light to germinate.
Water the containers well and let them drain. Insert 6-inch wooden florist's sticks in the medium, equally spaced around the rims. Slide clear plastic bags over the pots and sticks, securing them with twist ties. These temporary greenhouses eliminate the need for additional watering.
Place the containers in an area with indirect sun and air temperatures consistently between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 °C). Set them on a commercial seedling heat mat, set to between 80 and 90 F (27-30 °C). If you don't have a sunny area, use suspended fluorescent lights, adjusted to hang 6 inches above the growing seedlings. Keep them on 16 hours a day.
Check the containers for germinating seeds after a week. Calico flower usually germinates in seven to 14 days. When the first seedlings emerge, open the plastic bags. Move them down the florist's sticks over a few days to let the seedlings adjust to the lower humidity.
Remove the heat mat when a sufficient number of seedlings appear. Place the seedlings where temperatures remain close to 75 F (24°C)during the day and between 60 and 70 F (16-21°C)at night.
Move the young calico flowers to a shady outdoor spot when they have two sets of true leaves. Over the next two weeks, gradually increase their sun exposure.