Dutchman’s Pipe ID

(Question)

Hello,

I live in Hamilton, Ontario and have a row of bushes in front of my balcony at my apartment. There are at least 4 of these in the bushes, and I’m hoping someone can tell me what they are? Thanks for your help!

(Answer)

This is an intriguing photo.  Our first thought is that this may be the winterised remains of the seed pod of a Dutchman’s Pipe vine (Isotrema macrophyllum or Aristolochia spp.), a North American native vine, growing through the stems of the shrub, with a chrysalis – possibly of the Pipe vine or Black Swallowtail – attached.  This vine is the host species for this butterfly, both of which can be found in the Hamilton area.  What looks to us like a chrysalis could also be the dessicated exoskeleton of an insect.

It isn’t clear from the photograph, however, what the scale of the pod is, and because of the angles of the branches, whether the photo reflects the “cup” of the pod facing in an upward direction.

One option might be to contact the Entomological Society of Ontario, https://www.entsocont.ca/ to ask whether they are able to identify the insect specimen in your photo.  This may help in identifying the host plant as many insects complete their life cycle on specific plant species.

Another option is to monitor these plants now that spring is nearly here.  If this is the vine we surmise it may be, you should be able to identify it by its leaves as they emerge.  Here is a website that will help you to identify the foliage:  http://ontariowildflowers.com/main/species.php?id=799