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Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network

Bring back the Birdwing Butterfly

A project of Wildlife Queensland
This website is no longer the official website of the Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network. It was developed for the Richmond Birddwing Recovery Network. The author has continued to maintain it in recognition of the efforts of the many volunteers involved in the project and in the collection of the wild and planted vines and butterfly sightings.
Planting Guide   Click here for slide show

Recommendations for planting Birdwing vines(Pararistolochia praevenosa)

Time to Plant

       All year round
Preferably after first spring rains.
Protect from strong winds, cold & frosty periods.

Selection of Vines

Strong root system with good structure and feeding tips.
Strong healthy stems leaves and tendrils.
Minimum age 2 to 3 year-old plants. Avoid young plants from tube stock
Source from reputable or recognised Nurseries and growers.
Only purchase Permit Authorised and Tagged plants.
Vines to be watered well in Nursery before taken to a planting location.

Preparation of Planting Hole

Take a moment to think about the life of this Vine. A Vine lives for many years. It will be still growing well beyond our lifetime and will support generations of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.
Select a position 1 metre or more away from supporting tree or structure.
Dig a hole 300mm x 300mm or larger.
Ensure the sides and bottoms are broken up. This promotes root penetration and helps eliminate water logging in clay soils.
Due to the fine root structure of the vines it is advisable to work the soil to a fine texture and mix well with soil conditioner or organic matter.


Loosen from pot by turning upside down while supporting with one hand.
Do not tease out roots. It will damage the growing root tips and inhibit the healthy growth.
Place in hole at ground level, gently backfill with the prepared soil until Vine is held secure.
Do not press down or heel in. This again will damage the root tips and inhibit the healthy growth.
Water the vine in using a diluted Seaweed Extract. (50 mls per 10 litres per plant). This gently consolidates soil around root ball and expels any air.
Support & Protection
Place Tree Protector and /or mesh around Vine supported by a hardwood stake away from root ball. This will help to eliminate wind damage, damage from mechanical maintenance and make for easy identification for watering.
To encourage vines into the tree canopies or supporting structures, the use of a coloured bailing twine red or pink attached between stake and support will help. Some prefer dead, thin bamboo canes as these will rot away overtime and cause less environmental concern.


To keep roots cool and retain Moisture
Eliminate weeds and establish more nutrients
Encourage habitat for the pollinating midge. (Forcipomyia sp.)

Maintenance ( 3 Years )

Groups appoint Maintenance Leader
Weed elimination
Watering regime
Fertilizing regime
Keep consistent records & send information for inclusion in the RBCN Data Base

Propagating from seed and cuttings

  Vines grow easily from seed, although snails really love the newly emerged seedlings. The ripe seed capsules turn yellow or orange-yellow and become soft when ripe. Squish the seeds out into a container of water and wash the yellow fruity part away. They are fairly easy to strike from cuttings and respond to root hormones. The cuttings cannot be allowed to dry out at all until a good root system is achieved. They hate wind or sunlight for the first few weeks, so need a sheltered position. Once the roots develop they are hardier.

Planting out and growing on

Best to plant vines that are well established and in at least 5 inch pots. Avoid using tube stock. Tube stock has a higher mortality rate.
Moisture is very important. The vines are tough plants as long as they have adequate moisture.
Grows best in direct sunlight only if adequate moisture is maintained. Soft leaves are produced when grown in shade. Revegetation sites may be a great place to grow new vines as they will grow quickly while exposed to the sun, and then over time as the revegetation plants grow and canopy closure occurs the vine will then start producing soft leaves.