- Inflorescences of Aristolochia serpentaria often bear closed flowers that appear to be cleistogamous . Leaf shape varies greatly between populations, especially with regard to leaf width and size of basal lobes . This variability is especially interesting because eastern pipe-vine swallowtail butterflies, Battus philenor philenor (Linnaeus), use leaf shape as a search image when looking for Aristolochia leaves on which to lay their eggs. [source]
- The dried rhizome, called Virginia snakeroot or serpentary, is a popular herbal tonic . In small doses , it is a gastric stimulant and diuretic. Large doses can cause violent gastric distress and respiratory paralysis (J. A. Duke 1985). The rhizome contains aristolochic acid and trimethyl amine , both potential carcinogens. [source]
- Several Native American tribes used Aristolochia serpentaria for diverse medicinal purposes, including treatment of rheumatism, various pains, obstructions , worms, toothaches, sore throats , fever, sore noses, and colds, as a tonic, and mixed with saliva for snake bites (D. E. Moerman 1986). [source]
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Black Snakeroot, Snakeroot, Virginia Dutchmanspipe, Virginia Serpentary, Virginia Snakeroot
Common Names in Russian:
Zmejnyj Koren, змейный корен
, rarely lianas, subshrubs
, or trees
, stems, and leaves with oil cells
. Leaves alternate; stipules absent; petiole
usually present and well defined; leaf blade
, usually pinnately veined, sometimes palmately 3-5-veined, margin
usually entire, rarely 3-5-lobed. Inflorescences terminal
, cymes, or corymbs, or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual
, zygomorphic or actinomorphic
. Perianth usually with 1 petaloid
whorl (in Saruma with 2 whorls: outer one sepaloid
, inner one petaloid), mostly connate
or subglobose; limb rotate, urceolate
, cylindric, or ligulate
, 1-3-lobed; lobes
. Stamens 6-12 (in China), in 1 or 2 series; filaments
to ovary (in Asarum) or style column (in Thottea) with anthers
, or filaments and anthers fully adnate to style column to form gynostemium
(in Aristolochia) ; anthers 2-loculed, dehiscence longitudinal
. Ovary inferior to superior, 6-loculed (in Thottea 4-loculed) ; carpels connate only at base
or fully fused; ovules numerous
, usually in 1 or 2 series; placentation parietal
. Styles free or connate, column 3- or 6-lobed (in Thottea 5-20-lobed) . Fruit a fleshy
or dry capsule, rarely siliquiform or follicular
. Seeds many; testa somewhat hard or crustaceous
; endosperm copious
, fleshy; embryo minute.
About eight genera and 450 600 species: primarily in tropical and subtropical regions; four genera (one endemic) and 86 species (69 endemic) in China.
Herbs or lianas, perennial
. Stems erect
, or procumbent
. Leaves alternate, 2-ranked (evident on young growth, becoming obscure
with age in some species) ; true stipules absent; pseudostipules absent [present]; petiole
sometimes very short. Leaf blade
membranous to leathery. Inflorescences on new growth or on older stems, axillary
or solitary flowers; bracts present. Flowers: calyx usually mixture of purple, brown, green, or red, bilaterally symmetric
, usually bent or curved
, 1- or 3-lobed, not fleshy
with utricle (basal, inflated
portion of calyx surrounding or containing gynostemium
) ; tube
narrowed, sometimes extended proximally as cylindric
(tubular or ringlike structure at juncture of tube and utricle, projecting
into utricle cavity) and distally as annulus (circular flange
at juncture of tube and limb) on limb; corolla absent; stamens 5-6, adnate
to styles and stigmas, forming gynostemium; ovary inferior, 3-, 5-, or 6-locular; styles 3, 5, or 6, connate
in column. Capsule dry, dehiscent
. Seeds flattened or rounded
, sometimes winged
= 6, 7, 8.
Species ca. 300: nearly worldwide.
Most European and tropical species of Aristolochia are believed to be pollinated by small flies attracted to the flowers by the fetid odors and purple-brown color. Flies enter the flower when the stigmas are receptive and are trapped until after the anthers dehisce (H. Solereder 1889, 1889b). No formal studies of pollination of the North American species have been reported.
Many species of Aristolochia have been used in the treatment of snakebite; the treatment may or may not be effective. All species contain aristolochic acid , which is variously reported as tumor-causing or tumor-inhibiting (J. A. Duke 1985).
The leaves of many species are eaten by pipe-vine swallowtail butterflies. The larvae eat leaves of these species and sequester aristolochic acid in their bodies, making them unpalatable to birds (W. H. Howe 1975).
Species Aristolochia serpentaria
Herbs, erect to decumbent , to 0.6 m. Young stem ridged , glabrous to hispid . Leaves: petiole 0.5-3.5 cm. Leaf blade lanceolate to ovate , 5-15 × 1-5 cm, base truncate to cordate, sinus depth 0-1.5 cm, apex acute to acuminate; surfaces abaxially glabrous or hispid; venation pinnate. Inflorescences from base of stem, an additional flower in axil of stem leaf, racemes ; peduncle bracteolate , to 1.5 cm; bracteoles lanceolate, to 3 mm. Flowers: calyx brown-purple, bent; utricle pendent, pear-shaped to ovoid , 0.5-5 cm; syrinx present, ringlike, 1 mm, oblique ; tube bent, cylindric , 1 cm; annulus smooth ; limb purplish brown, 3-lobed, lobes 0.5 × 0.5 cm, glabrous; gynostemium 3-lobed, globose to crown-shaped, 1.5 mm; anthers 6; ovary 3-locular, to 1.5 cm. Capsule globose, 0.8-2 × 1-2 cm, dehiscence basipetal; valves 6; septa absent. Seeds rounded , ovate, 0.5 × 0.4 cm. 2 n = 28. [source]
Flowers: Bloom Period: April, May, June. • Flower Color: maroon
Size: 6-12" tall.
Mesic forests ; 50-1300 m .
Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 1,092 meters (0 to 3,583 feet).
Culture: Space 9-12" apart.
Soil: Minimum pH: 5.6 • Maximum pH: 7.8
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Novák ex Takhtajan, 1967
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Dumortier, 1829
- A.L. de Jussieu, 1789, nom. cons.
- Subfamily: Aristolochioideae ()
- Family: Aristolochiaceae () - A.L. de Jussieu, 1789, nom. cons. - birthworts
- Order: Piperales () - Dumortier, 1829
- Superorder: Magnolianae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Magnoliidae () - Novák ex Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
A. hastata Nuttall • A. nashii Kearney • A. serpentaria var. hastata (Nuttall) Duchartre • Aristolochia convolvulacea Small • Aristolochia hastata Nutt. • Aristolochia nashii Kearney • Aristolochia serpentaria var. hastata (Nutt.) Duchartre • Aristolochia serpentaria var. nashii (Kearney) Ahles • Endodeca serpentaria (L.) Raf. • Endodeca serpentaria var. hastata (Nutt.) C. F. Reed • Pistolochia Serpentaria
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 15-Mar-2000
Members of the genus Aristolochia
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 40 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
A. anguicida (Harlequin Dutchman's Pipe) · A. baetica (Birthwort) · A. bilabiata (West Indian Dutchman's Pipe) · A. bilobata (Twolobe Dutchman's Pipe) · A. brasiliensis (Aristolochia) · A. californica (California Dutchman's Pipe) · A. chilensis (Oreja De Zorro) · A. clematitis (Birthwort) · A. contorta (Dutchmans Pipe) · A. cordifolia (Heartleaf Dutchman's Pipe) · A. coryi (Cory's Dutchman's Pipe) · A. cymbifera (Mil-Homens) · A. elegans (Calico Flower) · A. erecta (Dutchman's Pipe) · A. fimbriata (White Veined Dutchmans Pipe) · A. gigantea (Calico Flower) · A. gigantea 'Brasiliensis' (Dutchmans Pipe) · A. grandiflora (Calico Flower) · A. indica (Indian Birthwort) · A. labiata (Mottled Dutchman's Pipe) · A. leuconeura (Aristolochia) · A. littoralis (Calico Flower) · A. macrophylla (Broadleafed Birthwort) · A. manshuriensis (Birthwort) · A. maxima (Florida Dutchman's Pipe) · A. odoratissima (Fragrant Dutchman's Pipe) · A. pearcei (Scrambling Dutchmans Pipe) · A. peltata (Peltate Dutchman's Pipe) · A. pentandra (Marsh's Dutchman's Pipe) · A. peruviana (Aristolochia) · A. pilosa (Pipevine) · A. reticulata (Texas Dutchman's Pipe) · A. ringens (Dutchman's Pipe) · A. sempervirens (Dutchmans Pipe) · A. serpentaria (Black Snakeroot) · A. tomentosa (Common Dutchmanspipe) · A. trilobata (Bejuco De Santiago) · A. watsonii (Indian Root) · A. wrightii (Wright's Dutchman's Pipe) · A. 'Guimaraes' (Dutchmans Pipe)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 16, 2007:
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
- USDA PLANTS, USDA PLANTS Database
- University of Alabama Biodiversity and Systematics, Herbarium
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2645241
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-18342
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13729578
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:93333-1
- GRIN Nomen Number: 4109
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 18342
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 93333-1
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: PDARI010H0
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: ENSEH
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 22692
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- Mean = 197.840 meters (649.081 feet), Standard Deviation = 163.400 based on 704 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]