Aristolochia - Aristolochiaceae - How to care for and grow Aristolochia plants
HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
L'Aristolochia, in addition to being widely used to adorn walls and pergolas, it is known both in European homeopathic medicine but above all in the pharmacopeacinese for the treatment of various pathologies.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Aristolochiaof the family of Aristolochiaceae it includes very many species (over 350) herbaceous or shrubby, with deciduous or evergreen leaves. Of all these species only a few are cultivated for ornamental purposes and all are climbers, used to adorn walls and trellises or to enrich pergolas.
The peculiarity of these plants are the flowers that in most species emanate very intense scents to attract insects, functioning as real traps as the pollinators, once they have entered the corolla, slip on a waxy coating that is inside the flower tube that allows you to enter but not to exit because it has numerous hairs that act as a barrier. The same shape of the flower, tubular and with a swollen base, favors the capture of the insect. Only after fertilization and with the withering of the flower, the captive insects, covered with pollen, will be able to go out and pollinate another plant.
There are about 350 species in the genus Aristolochia among which we remember:
The species Aristolochia macrophylla is a climbing plant, ideal for adorning pergolas, fast growing. It is characterized by very large leaves, up to 30cm wide, of an intense green color with bluish reflections.
The flowers are characteristic, pipe-shaped, yellow-green on the outside and dark red on the inside and very fragrant.
There A. clematitis it is native to the regions of the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and the Caucasus.
The plant has perennial underground creeping rhizomes from which each year old forms the aerial part. It reaches a height of one meter and is characterized by an erect stem on which the petiolate leaves develop, arranged alternately, heart-shaped and obtuse at the apex.
The flowers, typical of the genus, are pipe-shaped, yellow in color and usually develop at the axil of the leaves in groups of two or more.
The fruit is a globular pendulous capsule of about 3 cm in diameter.
L'Aristolochia gigantea it is native to Brazil, Colombia and Panama. It is an evergreen climbing plant, with lignified stems at the base that reach 10 m in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, obovate in shape with a pointed apex and light green in color.
The flowers are very large, solitary, devoid of petals, with the calyx consisting of a swollen and curved greenish-white tube, which widens and takes the shape of a pipe with the vertical end widened and up to 20 cm long, densely marked burgundy color. They give off a not very pleasant scent.
There Aristolochia elegans, originally from Brazil, it is a climbing plant that reaches three meters in height without difficulty, characterized by heart-shaped and broad-flowered leaves even 10 cm, tubular in shape of yellow color and with the extremities of the flower tube of a more or less shaded red color and with white veins . It blooms during the summer period (July - September).
There Aristolochia fangchi it is frequently found along streams and in valleys. It is a perennial climbing plant characterized by a thin stem that grows no more than 5 m in height. The leaves are whole, petiolate, oblong in shape.The flower is violet with yellow spots. The fruit is a capsule that contains numerous seeds inside. It blooms from May to June.
The Aristolochia they are plants of easy cultivation that require few and simple tricks.
They are plants that do not tolerate low temperatures and do not like full sun badly in partial shade positions.
From spring and throughout the summer they should be watered abundantly while starting from autumn and throughout the winter, irrigation should be significantly reduced.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
They are not particularly demanding in terms of soils even if they prefer light substrates, rich in organic substance and well draining as they do not tolerate water stagnation.
Starting from spring and all summer, they must be fertilized using a liquid fertilizer diluted in the watering water every two weeks and halving the doses compared to what is reported in the fertilizer package.
It is advisable to use a fertilizer that in addition to having macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) , zinc (Zn), boron (B), polybdenum (Mo), magnesium (mg) all important for a correct growth of the plant.
Pruning is necessary where the plant has grown too much and needs to be pruned. This operation can be done at the end of winter (February) by cutting the branches for a third of their length.
Since they are plants that tend to develop more in height than in width, in order to have them thicker, it is advisable to trim the vegetative apexes once or twice a year to stimulate the growth of the lateral branches.
Remember to use cutting tools that are clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
The Arispolochia multiply by seed or by cutting.
MULTIPLICATION FOR TALEA
In July, cuttings about 10 cm long are taken by cutting them immediately under the node so that some leaves remain and eliminating those placed further down. It is recommended to cut in an oblique direction as this allows to have a greater surface for rooting and avoids the accumulation of water on this surface.
Use a razor blade or a sharp knife to avoid fraying of the fabrics and make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the fabrics.
After immersing the cut part in a rhizogenic powder to favor rooting, the cuttings are arranged in a substrate formed by peat and sand in equal parts, making holes with a pencil, as many as there are cuttings to arrange, taking care to gently compact the topsoil.
The pot is placed in an area of the house where the temperature is around 18 ° C and the soil must be checked every day as it must always remain slightly humid. Once the first shoots start to appear, it means that the cuttings have taken root. At that point the cuttings are expected to harden and once they are large enough, they transplant into the final pot and treat themselves as adult plants.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
They are not particularly prone to diseases or parasitic attacks.
Several species of the genus are included in the farcope of the People's Republic of China:
Aristolochia manshuriensisof which the stem is used, called in the Chinese pharmacopoeia Guan Mu Tong,it is used in combination with other herbs, as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic in the case of acute infections of the urinary system and as an emmenagogue (1) and galactogen (2);
- of which in China the stem is used (called Tian Xian Teng in pharmacopeacinese) is used in the treatment of epigastric pain, in arthralgia (3) and in the case of edema; the fruits (calledBut DouLing in the Chinese pharmacopoeia) they are used as a remedy for hemorrhoids, coughs and asthma;
- of which it uses the stem (called Tian Xian Teng in the Chinese pharmacopoeia) is used in the treatment of epigastric pain, in arthralgia (3) and in case of edema; the roots (calledQingMu Xiang in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia) are used to treat divertigens, headaches, abdominal pain, pustules, boils and insect bites; the fruits (called in the Chinese pharmacopoeia Ma Dou Ling) they are used as a remedy for hemorrhoids, coughs and asthma;
- of whichthe dried root is used, it is called Guang Fang Ji in the pharmacopeacinese, and is used in association with other essences, as a diuretic in the case of edema and as an antipyretic and analgesic.
A separate discussion deserves theused not only in the Chinese pharmacopoeia but also in European homeopathy, where the dried root (fresh is toxic) is used as an astringent, emmenagogue (1), vulnerary (4).
The name of the genus comes from the Greek αριστος (aristos) «excellent» e λοχεία (lochèia) «childbirth» because in ancient times different species were used to favor childbirth in the prevention of infections.Note
1. Emmenagogo: able to stimulate the blood supply in the pelvic area and uterus
2. Galactogen: which intensifies the production of milk by the mammary glands
3. Arthralgia: pain in a joint
4. Vulnerary: which has a healing action on wounds and sores
The medical information given in this article is for illustrative purposes only, not for exhortation and in no case for medical purposes.