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Wisteria frutescens

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
American wisteria
Cultivar(s):
Amethyst Falls, Alba , Swantly Purple, Magnifica , Nivea
Categories:
Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Comment:

Wisteria frutescens, commonly called American wisteria, is a counterclockwise twining deciduous woody vine that grows to 40’ or more. It is native primarily to moist thickets, swampy woods, pond peripheries and stream borders from Virginia to Illinois south to Florida and Texas. Fragrant, pea-like, lilac-purple flowers in drooping racemes to 6” long bloom in April-May after the leaves emerge but before they fully develop. Limited additional summer bloom may occur. Flowers give way to narrow, flattened, smooth seed pods (to 5” long) which ripen in summer. Pods typically split open in fall. Compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each leaf typically with 9-15 lance-shaped leaflets) are deep green. American wisteria is not as aggressive a spreader as Wisteria sinensis(Chinese wisteria). Both Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) and Wisteria sinensis(Chinese wisteria) twine in a counterclockwise direction but Wisteria floribunda(Japanese wisteria) twines clockwise.

It is best grown in slightly acidic, humusy, moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Full sun is needed for best flowering. Although vines may produce flowers by the second or third year after planting, first flowering may take longer. Vines need regular pruning(s) in order to control size and shape of the plant and to encourage flowering. Consult a pruning guide for specifics on the initial training of vines and the types of pruning that can or should be done for these plants. An application of fertilizer in early spring can also help stimulate flowering. Choose growing sites wisely because plants dislike being transplanted.

Regions:  Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Wildlife Value:   This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Zarucco Duskywing and long-tailed skipper butterflies.  Butterflies nectar at its blooms.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Although susceptible to a number of foliage-chewing insects and fungal diseases, none are significant. Failure of vines to produce flowers may be attributable to a number of causes including death of flower buds in winter, too much shade, plants too young (especially seed grown ones), improper pruning or overfertilization.

Height:
15-30 ft.
Flower:
The American wisteria has fragrant, pea-like, lilac-purple flowers in drooping racemes to 6” long bloom in April-May after the leaves emerge but before they fully develop. Limited additional summer bloom may occur. Flowers give way to narrow, flattened, smooth seed pods (to 5” long) which ripen in summer. Pods typically split open in fall.
Zones:
5-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Exposure:
Sun to partial shade; range of soil types
Fruit:
Scented mauve flowers spotted with yellow; fragrant
Family:
Fabaceae
Origin:
USA
Distribution:
Eastern US
Poison Part:
Seeds.
Poison Delivery Mode:
Ingestion.
Symptoms:
Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea.
Toxic Principle:
Wisterin, a glycoside, and a toxic resin.
Severity:
TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.
Found in:
Forest or natural areas, ornamental vines native and exotic, escaped and naturalized species, weedy in disturbed areas, roadside
Tags:
apvg, host plant, deciduous, showy flower, fragrant, butterflies

NCCES plant id: 573

Wisteria frutescens Wisteria frutescens growth habit
Photo by Bev Wagar, CC BY - 2.0
Wisteria frutescens Wisteria frutescens bloom detail
Photo by Richard, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0