A rambling vine.
Evergreen in frost-free regions.
Vines 1-3' long form a dense, tangled, green or purple-tinged brown mat,
of stems and leaves, typically 1-2' wide and 1" high.
Tiny, mouse-ear-shaped, green and brown-speckled flowers. Each flower lasts one or two days.
The flowers give off an aroma similar to that of a rodent's ear. This attracts blood-sucking midges,
which normally feed on the inside of rodent ears. The flower traps them overnight, when pollen is released,
then lets them go the next morning, forcing them to become pollinators.
Spring and summer.
A capsule with five vertical ribs containing stacks of flat, black, triangular seeds
in five compartments.
Small, green, usually slender, arrowhead shaped leaves, 1-1.5" long, which turn
purple-brown in full sun and drought conditions.
The Pipevine Swallowtail
lays its eggs on this plant. Its caterpillar, eating the leaves, incorporates the plant's poison into
its skin to ward off predators. The caterpillar can completely defoliate the plant, but the leaves will
grow back. Tiny flies, called biting midges, pollinate the flowers. Lizards may search the plant
looking for butterfly eggs and caterpillars.
Toxic / Danger:
All parts of this plant are toxic.
Native to Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.