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Aristolochia cretica

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 21 February 2011 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Series: "Wild flowers of Crete"

Aristolochia cretica (Cretan Birthwort) is relatively rare and not easy to find. Its habitats are shady and rocky places and the plant and flowers are well disguised by surrounding grass and other plants. Aristolochia cretica is endemic to Crete and Karpathos. It blooms from the end of February to the beginning of July. The plants has an erect stem, branching, with kidney-shaped leaves wich are bilobate at the base. The flower is more than 6cm in width, brownish yellow with a strongly curving tube and yellowish lip with many white hairs.

The plants of the Aristolochiaceae family attract their pollinators (flies) by exuding a strong smell from their flowers which are typically saxaphone-shaped. When the flies crawl down into the flowers, they are trapped by the hairs that surround the 'mouth' and remain, crawling around, inside the flower overnight. By the following morning the hairs have withered and the flies, now covered with pollen, are able to escape and move on to other flowers and so complete the pollination cycle.

Image: Kria Vrisi (Crete) - 09/04/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/250 second F/8.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)


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Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

stunning !!

21 Feb 2011 5:59am

@Veronique: It is a very rare species and endemic to crete. Before my departure I hoped to find this one and so I did ! It is an exeptional plant-species. Greetz !

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

Superb, nature is amazing, very interesting commentary re their pollination.

21 Feb 2011 7:39am

@Christine: Nature is always surprizing and its ecology so wonderfull. I'm glad you enjoyed the commentary too. Greetz !

Co33 from libourne, France

Really curious and comment interesting!

21 Feb 2011 8:22am

@Co33: This plant can only be found on Crete and I was lucky to find some realy nice blooming specimen. Greetz.

Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

Heel speciaal. Het is een interessante uitleg.

21 Feb 2011 9:09am

@Aubélia: Heel anders dan de pijpbloem die je bij ons in het wild soms nog kan vinden. Deze komt dan ook enkel voor op Kreta. Het was een van de soorten die voor mijn vertrek met stip stond aangeduid om te gaan zoeken ... Missie geslaagd dus. Groetjes.

jeffrey from Haydenville, United States

great details and very nice color!

21 Feb 2011 3:30pm

@jeffrey: Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Jeffrey.

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Kende alleen de Aristolochia macrophylla (Duitse Pijp), deze is een erg bijzonder familielid! Fraaie opname!

21 Feb 2011 3:45pm

@Marleen: In onze streken (België en Nederland dus) kan je enkel nog de "gewone" pijpbloem (Aristolochia clematitis) in de vrije natuur tegenkomen. Andere soorten van de familie kan je wel eens in een plantenzaak vinden (zoals de Duitse Pijp die je hebt aangehaald.) De soort die op deze foto staat is endemisch voor Kreta (komt dus enkel en alleen daar voor). Het is een van de grootste vertegenwoordigers van de familie en een indrukwekkende plant als je hem kan vinden. Groetjes !

Marilla from Turku, Finland

Interesting plant, good details!

21 Feb 2011 5:47pm

@Marilla: Thanks, Marilla. Greetz !

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

I am glad very much to see a "usual" picture of you. Of course immediately again in usual quality and very interesting in picture and description. Nice greetings from Sonja

21 Feb 2011 7:24pm

@Loner: You didn't like the cretan landscape series then ? :pp I'm starting to post a series of wild flowers of Crete now - indeed my more usual kind of images - )). Greetz !!!

Don Levesque from Saint John, Canada

Beautiful photo followed by a great description.

21 Feb 2011 8:06pm

@Don Levesque: Thanks, Don ! Greetz.

¨‘°ºO Dutçh Oº°‘¨ from Neverwhere, United States

Like animals teeth.. a very carnivorous looking creature :D

22 Feb 2011 2:36am

@¨‘°ºO Dutçh Oº°‘¨: The plant "captures" the flies but isn't carnivorous. It just "uses" them as pollinators and they will be released after one night in "jail". Strange nature !

Canon EOS 400D
1/250 second
F/8.0
ISO 200
150 mm

plantae
magnoliophyta
magnoliopsida
aristolochiales
aristolochiaceae
aristolochi