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Wisteria floribunda

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
wis-TEER-ee-uh flor-ih-BUN-duh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Although it may be slow to establish, Japanese Wisteria is aggressive and invasive in North Carolina, due to its rampant growth and rooting surface runners. It is a woody deciduous vine that twines in a clockwise direction and requires sturdy support and regular pruning. The stems can twine along a support up to 10-25 ft. or more or can be trained as a shrub or small tree. Bright green compound pinnate leaves have 15-19 leaflets, and 12-18 inch long drooping clusters (racemes) of pink to purple, pea-shaped, very fragrant flowers.  These flowers bloom from the base of clusters to the tip as the leaves emerge in spring. After flowering, pendant velvety seed pods about 6 inches long ripen in fall, sometimes persisting into winter. 

Japanese Wisteria can withstand both wet and dry soils. It can create very dense thickets by twining and covering over shrubs and trees.  The stems root wherever the nodes touch the ground.  Wildlife does not utilize this plant because the seed size is very large.  The seeds are dispersed by water.  It is shade intolerant.  

The flowers, leaves, and seeds can be eaten.  However, caution should be taken as the raw seeds can be toxic.  Baking the seeds will give you a chestnut flavor.  Young leaves can be used to make a tea substitute.  The flowers can also be eaten when cooked.

Bark from Wisteria floribunda can be used to make ropes and sandals.  Branches are used for creating bridge cables. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Due to its aggressive growth, this plant is very high maintenance once established.  

It can be a difficult plant to get to bloom.  Some strategies that can be attempted are root pruning, using phosphorous fertilizer and cutting back the shoots to just 3 to 4 buds.

The seeds can be poisonous.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers, very fragrant.
  • 'Carnea' aka 'Kuchibeni'
    White with pinkish tips.
  • 'Issai'
    Violet to blue-violet on 12" racemes.
  • 'Ivory Tower'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Longissima Alba'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Macrobotrys'
    Red-violet, fragrant flowers on 2-4' racemes.
  • 'Multijuga'
    Purple flower blooms in May or June.
  • 'Nuda'
    Purple flowers.
  • Rosea
    Rose pink flowers, fragrant.
  • 'Snow Showers'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Variegata' aka 'Non Nishiki'
    Foliage splattered with cream to yellow.
  • 'Violaccea Plena'
    Violet-blue, double flowers in clusters under 1'. Very fragrant.
  • 'White Blue Eye' aka 'White/Blue Eye'
    White flowers with blue-violet blotch.
'Alba', 'Carnea' aka 'Kuchibeni', 'Issai', 'Ivory Tower', 'Longissima Alba', 'Macrobotrys', 'Multijuga', 'Nuda', Rosea, 'Snow Showers', 'Variegata' aka 'Non Nishiki', 'Violaccea Plena', 'White Blue Eye' aka 'White/Blue Eye'
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#invasive#shrub#purple flowers#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#twining#deer resistant#thickets#seed pods#deciduous vine#water dispersed seeds#wet soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#wet soils intolerant#shade intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers, very fragrant.
  • 'Carnea' aka 'Kuchibeni'
    White with pinkish tips.
  • 'Issai'
    Violet to blue-violet on 12" racemes.
  • 'Ivory Tower'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Longissima Alba'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Macrobotrys'
    Red-violet, fragrant flowers on 2-4' racemes.
  • 'Multijuga'
    Purple flower blooms in May or June.
  • 'Nuda'
    Purple flowers.
  • Rosea
    Rose pink flowers, fragrant.
  • 'Snow Showers'
    White flowers, very fragrant, racemes to 2' long.
  • 'Variegata' aka 'Non Nishiki'
    Foliage splattered with cream to yellow.
  • 'Violaccea Plena'
    Violet-blue, double flowers in clusters under 1'. Very fragrant.
  • 'White Blue Eye' aka 'White/Blue Eye'
    White flowers with blue-violet blotch.
'Alba', 'Carnea' aka 'Kuchibeni', 'Issai', 'Ivory Tower', 'Longissima Alba', 'Macrobotrys', 'Multijuga', 'Nuda', Rosea, 'Snow Showers', 'Variegata' aka 'Non Nishiki', 'Violaccea Plena', 'White Blue Eye' aka 'White/Blue Eye'
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#invasive#shrub#purple flowers#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#twining#deer resistant#thickets#seed pods#deciduous vine#water dispersed seeds#wet soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#wet soils intolerant#shade intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Wisteria
    Species:
    floribunda
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Leaf Cutting
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Defines Paths
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Textural
    Wind Break
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    The seeds can be eaten ONLY once cooked. Young leaves are commonly cooked and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked (stems removed). However, exercise caution as they are similar to other poisonous wisteria species.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After flowering, flattened pendant velvety seed pods 2 1/2"-6" inches long containg 1-8 seeds ripen from mid summer into fall, sometimes persisting into winter. Raw seeds are poisonous but can be eaten once properly cooked.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are 12"-18" long in drooping clusters (racemes) of pink to purple pea-shaped, very fragrant flowers, blooming from the base of the cluster to outward tip as leaves emerge in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    12-15" long, bright green compound pinnate leaves with 15-19 leaflets alternately arranged on 4"-16" stalks. Emerging leaves can be red-tinged.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    Dark gray with white dots, can reach a diameter of 10". Older trunks can develop a fluted and a muscle-like form, which can be attractive.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stem colors may include green and gray and can reach a diameter of up to several inches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Patio
    Vertical Spaces
    Walkways
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea, depression
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Lectin, wisterin glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds