Pararistolochia praevenosa

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Richmond birdwing butterfly vine
Pararistolochia praevenosa Aristolochia praevenosa.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Piperales
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Pararistolochia
Species: P. praevenosa
Binomial name
Pararistolochia praevenosa
(F.Muell.) Michael J.Parsons

Aristolochia praevenosa

Pararistolochia praevenosa is an Australian vine in the birthwort family. The Richmond birdwing butterfly vine grows in subtropical rainforest in coastal areas north from Wollongbar,[1] in far north eastern New South Wales and adjacent areas in south eastern Queensland.[2] It has been recorded as far north as the Mary River. It also grows in tropical north eastern Queensland, where it is a food plant for the Cairns birdwing butterfly.[3][4][5]

Richmond birdwing butterfly[edit]

This vine is the main food species for the Richmond birdwing butterfly.[6] This plant has suffered from habitat loss since the appearance of European settlers. Former areas of its habitat have been almost completely destroyed, such as at the Big Scrub. In recent times there have been programs by schools and government authorities, attempting to encourage new plantings of this vine.[2][7][8] This is mostly for the benefit of the Richmond birdwing butterfly. It is considered that the caterpillars of this butterfly do not kill the vines, as the caterpillars only eat new fresh leaves, and ignore the older mature leaves.


Pararistolochia praevenosa grows as a large woody vine, characterized by dense brown hairs on leaf stems, shoots and flowering parts.

The ovate to elliptic shaped leaves measure from 7 to 25 cm (3–10 in) long, and 2.5 to 8 cm (1-3.4 in) wide. The base of the leaf is heart shaped or rounded. The leaf surface is a dull dark green above, and hairy below, particularly on the leaf veins. The leaf stems are 1 to 3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) long, thick and twisted.

Two to six tubular shaped flowers form on racemes in summer and autumn. The flowers are 2.5 cm (1 in) long, purple or pinkish with bright yellow inside. Flower stems mostly originate from the leaf axils. The fruit is an orange ribbed capsule, oblong or oval in shape, 2 to 4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) long.[9]

image of a butterfly
Cairns birdwing butterfly
image of a butterfly


Flowers are pollinated by the Forcipomyia midge. Cuttings are poor to good in striking, and growth is slow. However, germination from fresh seeds is not difficult.[10] Seeds are viable for germination for around three months. Appropriate watering, weed removal, protection from snails, climbing support and fertilizing are recommended for young plants.[6]


First described by Ferdinand von Mueller in 1861 as Aristolochia praevenosa,[11] it was placed in its current genus by Parsons in 1996.[12]


  1. ^ "Pararistolochia praevenosa". PlantNET - NSW Flora Online. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". Richmond Birdwing Recovery Network. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  3. ^ "Troides euphorion (Gray, [1853])". 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Plant Distribution Mapper Database (2010). "Plant Distribution Mapper". Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Goosem, Stephen (September 2002). "Update of Original Wet Tropics of Queensland Nomination Dossier" (PDF). Wet Tropics Management Authority. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Chris Hosking. "Richmond Birdwing Vine" (PDF). Richmond Birdwing Recovery Network. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  7. ^ "Information resources for the plant Pararistolochia praevenosa". North Australia Land Manager. 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Sands, T.R. D.P.A. (October 2002). The Action Plan for Australian Butterflies. Environment Australia. ISBN 0-642-54849-8. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Pararistolochia praevenosa (ARISTOLOCHIACEAE) Richmond Birdwing Vine". © Save Our Waterways Now. 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Seddon, Ray. "Recommendations for the planting of the birdwing vines". Richmond Birdwing Recovery Network. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  11. ^ "Aristolochia praevenosa F.Muell.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  12. ^ "Pararistolochia praevenosa (F.Muell.) Michael J.Parsons". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.