Saxapahaw, NC

The Flower of Carolina


  • Product Info

    Wooly Dutchman's-pipe (Isotrema tomentosa)
    Birthwort Family

    This dense, shade-loving vine has classically been used as a screen. Plants can be trained up wire cable, or left to sprawl in low growing trees like Witch-hazel or Sassafras. The large, fuzzy heart shaped leaves are the main attraction of this plant, as flowers are quite small and well hidden among the thick foliage. Flowers are tubular, or pipe shaped, and have a distinct odor that is attractive to flies. Toxic foliage is eaten by the Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, which then becomes toxic itself. VInes will be denser in more sun, but are found naturally in shadier areas. Plants tend to sucker more in shade, likely because they are seeking out sunnier territory.

    Blooms: Yellow/purple, 3-4 weeks, May-June
    Leaves: 4-6” heart shaped, fuzzy leaves are dense and highly attractive
    Height: 6-40’
    Space: 5-10’
    Soil: Moist-Average
    Exposure:  Part sun-Part shade-Shade
    Fauna: Fly pollinated, host to Pipevine Swallowtail, dense foliage provides cover
    Seeds:  Large elliptical capsule with hard, flat, stacked seeds
    Deer Resistance: High
    Zone: 4-9
    Native Status:Questionable NC native status, southwest and midwest native
    Provenance: Unknown, seed grown