Aristolochia acuminata Lam.
Lamarck, J.B.A.P de Monnet (1783) Encycl. 1: 254. Type: India, Commerson.Holo: P.
Birthwort, Indian; Native Dutchman' Pipe; Indian Birthwort
Leaf blades about 9-28 x 4.5-16.5 cm, petioles about 2-6 cm long, shallowly grooved in the upper surface, usually twisted towards the base. Leaves usually with 3-5 veins radiating from the base. Stems longitudinally ribbed from the decurrent petiole base. Leaf blades slightly aromatic or unpleasantly perfumed when crushed.
Ovary (hypanthium) 6-ribbed, about 10-13 mm long. Perianth tube consisting of an inflated base (attaining a diameter of about 7-8 mm), constricted above the base to form a tube about 10 x 1.5 mm and then flared at the apex to a diameter of about 5-6 mm. Apical lobe about 20-30 x 7 mm. Stamens 6, fused together to form a structure about 3 x 4 mm. Stigmas 6. Ovary 6-locular. Ovules numerous in each locule.
Capsules ellipsoid, about 3.5-4 x 2.5 cm before dehiscence. Following dehiscence the capsule resembles a parachute supported by strings about 5 cm long. Seeds numerous, stacked in columns. Each seed about 8-9 x 6-10 mm with a wing about 1-2 mm wide all around the margin. Embryo about 0.5-0.7 mm long.
Cotyledons broadly oblong-elliptic, ovate to almost orbicular, about 12-15 x 9-12 mm, petioles hairy, about 3-4 mm long. First leaves ovate, minutely hairy, margins entire, venation depressed on the upper surface. Third leaf cordate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate to narrowly cordate, apex acuminate. Midrib depressed on the upper surface. Crushed leaves emit a strong unpleasant odour. Seed germination time 43 to 162 days.
Food plant for the larval stages of the Cape York Birdwing and Red Bodied Swallowtail Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).