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San Diego Botanic Garden’s Senior Youth Education Manager, Susanne Brueckner, takes a look at the Giant Dutchman’s Pipe Vine at the San Diego Botanic Garden (courtesy photo)

Giant Dutchman’s Pipe Vine Now in Bloom at SD Botanic Garden

Unique Deep Maroon Flower Smells Like Lemon Pledge &   Is As Big As a Human Head

This Brazilian native (Aristolochia gigantea) will continue to flower until mid-summer

Encinitas CA— Once a year, the Tiki Shed in the Herb Garden at San Diego Botanic Garden is adorned with ethereal-looking, giant, deep maroon-colored flowers that smell as if your Aunt May just polished her living room furniture with Lemon Pledge.

The Giant Dutchman’s Pipe Vine (Aristolochia gigantean) is a native to Brazil and Panama. The flowers, which bloom in spring at the Garden, are as large as a human head, and attracts insects that are lured to the plant by the sight and smell of this spectacular dark bloom.

An insect coated in pollen from a recent visit to a neighboring flower, will travel down the main tube of the Giant Dutchman’s flower (called the perianth tube). Once inside of the flower, the insect will be trapped by the flower’s tube stiff hairs. These hairs point downward, forcing the insect deep inside the flower. There, the pollen-covered insect brushes against the flower’s stigma (reproductive organ), depositing pollen. The following day, the flower will stop producing its scent and release its own pollen onto the captured insect. Only then does the flower relax its hairs and release the insect to continue the cycle. Interestingly, this plant is not carnivorous.

The Giant Dutchman’s Pipe Vine will continue to bloom until approximately mid-July. Because the Garden has 4,000 plant species from all over the world, there is always something interesting in flower at San Diego Botanic Garden. Come visit and see what else is in bloom!