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Products > Dalechampia aristolochiifolia
Dalechampia aristolochiifolia - Purple Wings
Image of Dalechampia aristolochiifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: Costa Rica (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Dalechampia dioscoreifolia, Hort.]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Dalechampia aristolochiifolia (Purple Wings) - A fast growing vine in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) that has light green 5 inch long rough-textured heart-shaped leaves. The "blooms" have small yellow male and reddish brown female flowers in a structure called a pseudanthia. Like the related Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), the flowers are not nearly as showy as the two large surrounding bracts, which are fuchsia-purple colored measuring 2-3 inches wide and long with serrated margins and prominent veins. These bracts and flowers, looking like purple butterflies appear nearly year round with peak bloom from summer through fall. Plant in full sun to medium shade and water moderately. Blooms less and is less vigorous when kept dry. It is hardy to about 20-25 degrees F but does not like wet feet in winter, so good soil drainage or a root area that stays dry then is needed. This plant is native to seasonal forests in Peru. The name for the genus honors 16th century French physician and writer Jacobus Dalechampius, also known as Jacques d' Alechamp. The specific epithet is in reference to the leaves looking like those of the pipevine in the genus Aristolochia. The fruit of this plant is also interesting but we rarely see it in California, likely as we are lacking the euglossine bees (orchid bees) whose females pollinate the flowers in Peru and elsewhere as the seek the resins in the flower to construct nests. We first received this plant in 1993 as Dalechampia dioscoreifolia, a valid name for a quite similar species that ranges from Costa Rica south to Bolivia and western Brazil and we sold it for over 20 years using this name but it is now apparent it was initially misidentified and what has long been in cultivation in California under this name is actually the Peruvian species, Dalechampia aristolochiifolia. Its flower is the floral emblem for the town of Abancay in southern-central Peru, where it is called Bella Abanquina. Other common names that have been associated with this plant include Costa Rican Butterfly Vine, Bowtie Vine, Silk Crepe Flower. We thank Kathy Musial of the Huntington Botanical Gardens and Steve Brigham of Buena Creek Nursery for first providing us this plant in 1993 and also Dr. W. Scott Armbruster, professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Portsmount in the UK who did his dissertation on Dalechampia and inofrmed us that the plants in the California nursery trade were not Dalechampia dioscoreifolia but actually Dalechampia aristolochiifolia. 

This information about Dalechampia aristolochiifolia displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.