Aristolochia tagala, Dutchman's pipe seeds
Aristolochia tagala is mainly distributed in China and South East Asia. There it grows as a climbing plant and reaches a height of 2 to 5 m. It needs a growth support if cultivated solitary. Otherwise it climbs upwards on the surrounding vegetation. The leaves of Aristolochia tagala are heart shaped and get up to 25 cm long. They are light green and strongly glossy.
The leaves of Aristolochia tagala are food for two rarely occurring butterfly species. They depend from Aristolochia tagala as a food plant. Due to that Aristolochia tagala was cultivated in China just to stabilize the butterfly populations there. The flowers of Aristolochia tagala are quite special looking. They look quite like a pipe. That is why Aristolochia tagala is also known as "Dutchman's pipe". The flowers are dark red and are getting greenish towards the shoot. The flower of the Dutchman's pipe resembles slightly the pitchers of the pitcher plant. The flower gets in total 6 cm high. The fruit is roundish and gets 3 cm in diameter in average. The fruit has grooves. Along this grooves the fruit breaks open when it is ripe. Then the heart shaped half a centimeter long seeds fall out of the fruit. They are dispersed via the wind. Due to that they have wings. The genus Aristolochia has a self repairing mechanism. If a cell gets destroyed another cell is able to fill the hole in the other cell. On this interesting effect the bionic does some research aiming to get a nanosystem that is able to do self repairing. In addition the Dutchman's pipe is used in the folk medicine. The natives use it to treat fever and snake bites.
The seeds of Aristolochia tagala should be put into the warm water for 2 days. This treatment raises germination success. The seeds that should be only covered slightly with substrate start to germinate after 5 weeks. The substrate should be kept constantly moist and the surrounding temperature should be around 26°
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