Aristolochia thozetii

native Dutchman's pipe


Aristolochia thozetii

F.Muell. 1861

pronounced: a-riss-toh-LOCK-ee-uh though-ZEE-tee-eye

(Aristolochiaceae — the Dutchman's pipe family)


common name: native Dutchman's pipe

native 4Aristolochia is derived from the Greek αριστο (aristo), best and λοχια (lochia), of childbirth, referring to the medicinal qualities of the plant in helping childbirth; thozetii is for Antheline Thozet (1826-1878), French-Australian botanist.

Kew’s Plant List gives this as a separate plant from Aristolochia pubera, although not all would agree. The difference between the two plants is mainly in the leaf forms. A. thozetii has linear to sagittate or hastate leaves mostly with an acute apex, while A. pubera has broader, oblong to panduriform leaves with an obtuse apex, both with rounded basal lobes. Some botanists regards the two plants as forms of A pubera. Especially in the Northern Territory, where some studies have been made, both forms commonly co-concur in small, mixed populations of a few dozen plants. Within a population the forms appear to flower and fruit concurrently. The same appears to apply here on Magnetic Island, where the two forms are mixed by the Alma Bay to Nelly Bay walking track, and both were in flower together (in May).

As with Aristolochia pubera, the is also a slender vine with a diameter of no more than 2 cm. The leaf blades are about 5 – 8.5 cm by 1.5 – 2.5 cm, the bases ending in two large rounded lobes, with petioles up to about 2.5 cm long. The leaves emit a strong odour when crushed.

The flower is borne on a pedicel about 4 mm long. The perianth is curved or geniculate, the basal part inflated, narrowed into a tube that is about 5 mm long, and then extending into a single tube a little over a centimetre long. The stamens are fused, and form a structure around the style. The anthers are sessile, and the ovary is glabrous and about 4 mm long. Each locule has numerous ovules.

The fruits are about 1.5 – 2 cm by 1 – 2 cm in size, and are longitudinally ribbed. The seeds are dark brown, laterally compressed, and pyriform. As with Aristolochia pubera, the species occurs in the Northern Territory, Cape York Peninsula, and north-east Queensland, downto the central coast of the state. It gows in vine thickets, monsoon forest, and open eucalypt forest.

This is a host plant for the larvae of the Redbodied Swallowtail Atrophaneura polydorus queenslandicus and the Big Greasy Cressida cressida.


Photographs taken 2019, Alma Bay to Nelly Bay walking track

Page last updated 14th August 2019