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Chiefly of botanical interest, and not very hardy, this species is not common in gardens, although one sees it occasionally cultivated in the south and west country. It has smilax-like leaves, with three or five prominent veins, heart-shaped, 2 to 4 in. long, bright green, and quite glabrous, as are also the slender, six-ribbed stems. Flowers solitary, stalks slender 1 to 11⁄2 in. long; perianth yellow-brown, striped with darker lines, 11⁄2 in. long, bladder-like at the base, the upper part somewhat funnel-shaped, but doubled back on itself, expanding at the mouth into one ovate, oblique lobe. Seed-vessel oblong, 11⁄4 in. long, 3⁄4 in. wide, minutely downy. Bot. Mag., t. 6586.
Native of S.E. Europe, and N. Africa. At Kew it has to be grown against a wall, and even there in severe winters is cut to the ground. It is of prostrate or scrambling habit but some forms (previously known as A. altissima) the shoots may be 8 to 10 ft high, which flower from June to August. The form grown in the R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, Surrey, is completely hardy, however, and makes a useful ground cover.
[Lightly edited from Bean’s original text for Aristolochia altissima, to reflect the name change to A. sempervirens. JMG October 2023]