Indian Birthwort is an evergreen, twining vine with large, bright green leaves and curious, pipe-shaped flowers. It is grown as an ornamental plant and for its medicinal properties. It is a host plant for a number of colorful tropical butterflies so it is also grown in butterfly gardens in the tropics. This species is native to Asia from the Himalayas to China and Malaysia and the islands of Oceania. 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 Dutchman's pipe is used in folk medicine. It can be grown outdoors in tropical and subtropical regions and it can be grown as a houseplant in temperate regions.
Seeds are stored in a refrigerator to maintain viability.
1. Soak the seed in water for 48 hours.
2. The seeds like moist, rich, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
3. Put the seeds on the soil.
4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
5. Water the seeds.
6. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.