Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Aristolochia sparusifolia (Mich.J.Parsons) Buchwalder & Wanke

Slender Vine
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and Flowers. © B. Gray
Leaves and fruit. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Buchwalder, K. et al (2014) Australian Systematic Botany 27: 54.


A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.


Leaf blades +/- lanceolate, about 8-16 x 2.5-6 cm, petioles about 1-3.5 cm long, distinctly curled and/or hooked. A raised line extends from the base of the petiole around the stem. Leaves do not adhere to clothing.


Pedicel + ovary (hypanthium) about 15-20 mm long. Perianth tube sinuous, about 30 mm long, inflated at the base around the stamens. Perianth tube constricted above the inflated part and expanded at the apex and opening as 3 pouches. Apex of the perianth held together by a 3 strand filiform tip about 8 mm long which itself ends in 3 separate filiform tips. Outer surface of the perianth green, sparsely clothed in hairs, mainly on the reddish veins. Inner surface of the perianth yellowish. Stamens 6, fused together to form a structure around the style. Anthers sessile. Ovary 6-locular. Ovules numerous in each locule.


Fruits 6-ribbed, about 5-5.5 x 2.3-2.5 cm. Seeds numerous, arranged in 6 vertical rows. Seeds triangular to almost cordate, about 7-8 x 7-9 mm. Embryo about 0.25 mm long, located at the pointed end of the seed. Cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


One or two cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First true leaves cordate-elliptic, apex acuminate-acute, base auriculate. Oil dots visible to the naked eye, irregularly spaced. Upper and lower leaf blade surfaces clothed in hairs. Upper leaf blade surface bullate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- cordate-oblong, apex acuminate, base +/- auriculate. Leaf blade 3-veined at the base with four to six veins on each side of the midrib. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Oil dots large and numerous but irregularly spaced. All seedling parts densely clothed in fawn or purple coloured hairs. Seed germination time 143 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ. Known only from collections made in the Mt Lewis - Mt Spurgeon area and the mountains west of Mossman. Altitudinal range from 700-1200 m. Grows in well developed upland and mountain rain forests usually on soil derived from granite.

Natural History & Notes

Host plant of the larvae of the Cairns Birdwing Butterfly (Troides euphorion).


Pararistolochia sparusifolia Mich.J.Parsons, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 120: 228 (1996). Type: Queensland, State Forest Reserve 143, Bushy Logging Area [Mt Lewis], 2 Dec. 1982, B. Gray 2876. Holo: QRS. Iso: BRI. Aristolochia sp. (Mt Lewis), Climbing Plants of Australia : 154 (1988).

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