The California Pipevine

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By: Susan Lynch


Aristolochia californica I purchased this vine at a local nursery because I wanted a native vine to grow over the fence in my backyard. It is fast growing and is slowly covering up some of the fence. It is deciduous so the leaves fall off in the winter months. It attracts lots of butterflies, but I haven’t yet seen the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

When I see this caterpillar, I will know I am up to two years away from seeing the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.


The California Pipevine is native to Northern California and the host plant of the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. The pipevine flowers are notably smelly and they can trap tiny insects but the plant itself does not consume the insects. I have sniffed the blooms, but I didn’t think it smelt that bad. I wonder if that is because the vine is still relatively young.


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