Where Did Wisteria Originate

Wisteria is a genus with 810 species of twining, often woody vines in the pea family. Wisteria is also written wistaria (Fabaceae). Wisterias are mostly native to Asia and North America, but they are also commonly cultivated in other parts of the world because of their attractive growth patterns and gorgeous, profusion of blossoms. The plants are invasive species in some areas outside of their natural range where they have escaped cultivation.

The majority of plants can withstand low soils and grow large and quickly. The alternating leaves have up to 19 pinnately complex (feather-shaped) leaflets. The blooms, which are blue, purple, rose, or white, are borne in prodigious, drooping clusters. The deadly seeds are carried by long, slender legumes. The plants are typically grown from cuttings or grafts because they typically take many years to begin blooming.

Wisteria is either Japanese or Chinese.

Wisteria usually grows around historic homes. Chinese wisteria and Japanese wisteria are the two wisteria species that have escaped into the eastern United States. When wisteria becomes established, it can be challenging to get rid of it and can cling to trees and plants in the area for years. In the landscape, they can kill or alter desirable trees.

Vegetative Growth

There are some recognizable vegetative differences between Chinese and Japanese wisterias. Japanese wisteria twines clockwise, whilst Chinese wisteria twines the opposite direction. Japanese wisteria leaves typically have 11 leaflets, but Chinese wisteria leaves can have up to 713 leaflets. Positive identification, however, can be challenging due to some overlap in leaflet traits and the existence of hybrids (Wisteria x formosa Rehd.).

Pinnately complex leaves are typically alternately placed on the stems of wisterias. Leaflets are typically 14 inches long and elliptic to ovate in form. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are high-climbing vines that can grow up to 70 to 80 feet in height, but American wisteria [Wisteriafrutescens (L.) Poir.] only reaches 1525 feet. In Sierra Madre, California, a Chinese wisteria set a record by having a stem length of more than 450 feet. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are typically only constrained by the structure they are supported by. Wisteria stems (vines) tightly wrap around living supports like trees, gradually killing them. The bark on the stems is light brown or tan and relatively smooth. There are produced both lateral and vertical stems. Rooting along the length of the plant, lateral stems normally get more tense with age. Either stem type’s removal can be challenging.

Flowering and Seeds

Before the leaves appear, the Chinese and Japanese wisterias blossom in the spring. Hanging clusters of fragrant flowers with white, violet, or purple petals are produced. A densely hairy (velvety pubescent) legume (seedpod) that has one to four seeds develops from flowers.


Wisteria spreads sexually by seed or vegetatively through stem growth. Since the fruit is deadly, wildlife does not likely spread it frequently. Most likely, infestations in most regions of the United States were made possible by intentional planting as an ornamental for landscape purposes.


Fence rows, woodlands, and other landscape features may be affected by wisterias. The surrounding vegetation is replaced by the dense thickets that wisteria develops. These thickets may provide as a habitat for some animals, but they are a formidable barrier to both animal and human activities.


Although there are allegedly many Chinese and Japanese wisterias in the eastern United States, the presence of fertile hybrids may jeopardize the current species range. In the United States, American wisteria can be found from Massachusetts to Michigan and south to Florida and Texas. All are grown, notably hybrids of Chinese and Japanese wisterias. The Midsouth is covered in wisteria. American wisteria grows in and around marshes and is typically less aggressive.


Since there aren’t many labeled advice for controlling wisteria, more research is required. For suggested chemical applications, see Table 1. These herbicides can be used as foliar, frill, basal bark, cut stump, or soil treatments, among other ways of application. With frill, sometimes known as hack and squirt, an incision in the bark must be made every 2 inches all the way around the woody stem. The herbicide is then sprayed into these apertures. The lower 1824 inches of the entire plant trunk are sprayed with a bark-penetrating adjuvant to apply basal bark treatments. When applied right before bud break, these treatments are most effective on trunks with a diameter of less than 4 inches. After cutting the main stem, applications are performed to the cut stump. To stop the remaining stump from resprouting, spray herbicide on it slightly inside the bark. A nonionic surfactant must also be used in all foliar and basal bark applications at a rate of 3264 ounces per 100 gallons of spray solution. Applications done within two times the dripline of attractive trees may result in harm or death because picloram is absorbed by tree roots. Several desirable trees can be sprayed with clopyralid, making it an excellent option for treating wisteria-draped trees.


Although mechanical controls are an option, they are frequently pricy and labor-intensive. Climbing stems create lateral stems (vines) at their base, which can spread far from the original plant. Climbing vines can encircle trees and shrubs in a tight web that makes removal challenging. Young branches can be pruned by snapping them, but older vines must be clipped.

The US didn’t get wisteria how?


imported to the United States in 1816 for horticultural use [45], whereas

to ornament walls, gardens, parks, gazebos, and most porches throughout the southern and mid-Atlantic regions.

Plants escaping from such settings lead to outbreaks in natural regions [34]. As of

Wisterias are concentrated in the southeast of the United States, according to distributional maps from 2009, with

distributions to the north and west are patchy. There are Japanese wisteria plants as far west.

north to Maine, east to Texas, and west to Illinois. Mandarin wisteria

is found as far east as Florida, west as Michigan, north as Vermont, as far west as Texas.

In Hawaii, Chinese wisteria can also be found. Wisteria plants hybridize at a rapid rate.

Distribution maps for the particular species may be dubious due to recent findings in the southeastern states [35,36].


Plant community associations of nonnative species are frequently difficult to represent precisely

There are gaps in our understanding of non-natives since there is a dearth of comprehensive survey data.

ecological traits, while non-native species may still be extending their range in the North

American horizon. Despite being widely known, as of 2009 there were only few.

descriptions of plant communities that either wisteria species can be found in that have been published.

Wisterias therefore probably exist in plant groups other than those that have been discussed and included here.

In Mt. Vernon, Virginia, where most of the Chinese wisteria is found,

mature oak-hickory (Quercus spp.-Carya spp.) woodland was described [45].

Similar to that, it happened in Durham and Orange Counties in the North Carolina Piedmont in a peaceful environment.

areas with a predominance of oaks and hickories in a temperate cold-deciduous forest. Using the same

Chinese wisteria was also found in disturbed and abandoned forest areas in the area.

A loblolly pine overstory covers agricultural area (Pinus taeda). It was located

together with several other non-native species, such as tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima),

Princesstree (Paulownia tomentosa), mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), and multiflora rose

species of American beech and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) (Fagus grandifolia),

Black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia), northern red oak, and American elm

(Q. rubra), as well as sycamores (Platanus occidentalis). Westerners were climbing it themselves.

Toxicodendron rydbergi poison ivy and Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia creeper [26].

Mississippi’s bottomland hardwood forests, which could be a part of the southern floodplain forest

a longleaf pine (P. palustrus) remnant stand, an especially rare southeastern species

observed that it was discovered in a New Jersey forest preserve dominated by other non-native species.

How did wisteria get started?

According to a 1920 report, a wisteria vine in Ushijima, Japan, had a 32-foot circumference and produced more than 80,000 blossom trusses. In America’s wild areas, where it grows unaided, Asian wisteria is also becoming a problem. Why then do thousands of these vines that are growing on people’s houses all over America obstinately refuse to bloom?

The history of contemporary Asia and Western plant hunters’ restricted access are the key factors. China and Japan were off-limits to Westerners until the late 18th century, with a few exceptions. Before 1812, when a limited number of English agents came only for trade, Chinese Wisteria sinensis was unknown. Wisteria floribunda, a Japanese shrub, was ultimately introduced to the West by plant explorers in 1830.

Only seeds were exported from China and Japan during these early years. The first plants in the West were raised from these seeds, and many modern plants descended from that original stock.

Many plants that are developed from seeds have a genetic makeup that makes their progeny susceptible to a variety of traits. While the average flowering time for wisteria cultivated from seeds is between eight and ten years after germination, some plants may take up to twenty years to bloom. Both the original Asian wisteria seeds that were exported and their progeny have similar variations. Wisteria growing was a cottage enterprise with minimal parental control until the modern American nursery was created.

With seedlings, the issue is that it takes at least 10 years to determine whether you have a 20-year bloomer. This explains why so many gardeners struggle to get along with their difficult plants.

The most typical remedy is to shock the plant into flowering. It is recognized that stressing out the plant by removing its roots activates a survival mechanism. It makes a brave attempt to propagate itself by blossoming and setting seed before death since it believes that its life is about to expire. Although shocking won’t harm the tree or vine, it is nevertheless obviously unhealthy because it severes essential feeder roots.

Plant hunters went back to the Far East to investigate why the early seedlings in Europe did not produce like their parents years later. They came to the conclusion that layering, a technique comparable to taking a cutting that is used to propagate vines, had been utilized to start many of the heavy, early-flowering Asian plants.

Plant collectors this time around sent rooted cuttings of the best Chinese and Japanese plants home. They were guaranteed an early and profuse bloom because they were derived from venerable plants found at historic locations, temples, and ancient mansions. These served as the foundation for the branded cultivars that guarantee you will receive high-performing plants. Wisteria sold under the cultivar names W. sinensis and W. floribunda may be seedlings with no assurances regarding bloom age. However, you can tell that W. floribunda is genetically identical to its heavy-blooming precursor when it is followed by “Texas Purple” or “Violacea Plena.”

It’s possible that layering was used to reproduce the designated cultivars from the parent. It could also be a cutting grafted onto a wisteria rootstock that is a seedling. The grafted scion will revert to the seedling rootstock if it dies at any point. This dubious flowering seedling may also be suckers formed below the graft. An outdated, underperforming wisteria top may be grafted to create named varieties later on.

Wisteria varieties available now come in white, Chinese, or Japanese colors. Big Johnny, Longissima, Issai Perfect, Purple No. 1, Cooke’s Purple, and Purple No. 9 are further well-known kinds to seek for.

Where did the name wisteria come from?

Thomas Nuttall, a botanist, claimed he named the genus Wisteria in honor of Caspar Wistar, an American anatomist and physician (17611818).


[2] At the time, both men were residing in Philadelphia, where Wistar was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. [3] When questioned about the spelling subsequently, Nuttall said that it stood for “euphony,” but according to his biographer, it might have something to do with Nuttall’s acquaintance Charles Jones Wister Sr. of Grumblethorpe, the grandson of the businessman John Wister. [4] Several reports claim that Philadelphia is where the naming took place. [5]

Another story asserts that Portuguese botanist and geologist Jos Francisco Correia da Serra, who resided in Philadelphia starting in 1812 and served as Portugal’s ambassador to the United States for four years, is the person who gave the flower its common name, Wisteria, in honor of Caspar Wistar. In order to honor his relationship with Wistar, Correia “had tea at his home every day and christened the vine ‘Wisteria’.” [6]

The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature does not allow for changing the genus name because the spelling appears to be intentional.

[7] The plant’s common name, however, is sometimes spelled “wistaria”. [8] [9]

When imported to France, Germany, and other Western and Central European nations, where they are known not as wisteria but rather by the plant’s German name, Glyzinien (French: Fleur de Glycine, German: Glyzinienbaum, Russian:, romanized: Tsvetok glitsiniy)

What stands for wisteria?

In the majority of cultures where the plants are native, wisteria is a symbol of romance. The Wister flower, in particular in Korea, symbolizes affection that endures after death. Wisteria is seen by the Japanese as a sign of prosperity, longevity, and good fortune.

Wisteria is it a native of Japan?

wisterias. Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), which is native to Japan and is the hardiest species in the genus, American wisteria (W. frutescens), which is indigenous to the southeastern United States, and Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis), which is indigenous to China, are all cultivable species.

Why does wisteria cause issues?

With 15-inch trunks, this vine can grow up to 70 feet quickly. Native canopy trees, understory trees, and shrubs may be suffocated or destroyed by this invasive vine’s heavy weight due to its quick growth and intense shade.

This is a particular issue in the warmer Southern states, where this aggressive and quickly proliferating invasive species is destroying native habitats.

As it climbs, the vine tightly wraps around the trees and bushes, eventually girdling and killing them.

Because native ecosystems have been destroyed, the habitat for many insects, birds, butterflies, and other animals has also been destroyed, leaving them without a place to live.

Is wisteria a natural plant?

Wisteria blooms over roads and arbors in the spring, reminding me that sure, spring always keeps its promise and, wow, this stuff is taking over the globe! Although some varieties of wisteria are stunning, they are invasive plants and should be grown with caution (if at all).

The native American species is a perfect substitute if you adore the rich splendor of wisteria because it provides you all the glory without nearly as much trouble.

Chinese and Japanese Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda, respectively known as Chinese and Japanese wisterias, are magnificent spring-blooming vines with gracefully twisted trunks and an absolutely gorgeous display of pendulous lavender or pink blooms in the spring. These are the varieties of wisteria that grow wild along highways and drape their foot-long flowers from tall tree branches.

They are very stunning. However, when these non-native vines are accidentally introduced into American forests (often by well-intentioned gardeners), they quickly proliferate and start the troublesome work of obstructing light and water, growing thickets, impeding the growth of new saplings, and even bringing down large trees with their heavy, woody stems.

Despite being invasive species, Chinese and Japanese wisterias are still sellable, and it can be tempting to take a cutting or sprout from a naturalized vine. But before putting wisteria into your yard, you might want to consider how diligently you intend to train and control it.

American Wisteria Is the Native Choice

Consider growing the less invasive American wisteria as an alternative (Wisteria frutescens). This gorgeous vine, which is native to eastern North America, is just as magnificent despite having slightly smaller blooms that occasionally repeat in the fall. It is significantly less intrusive and much less likely to spiral out of control than its Asian counterparts.

The blossoms are the most straightforward way to recognize American wisteria. The flowers of American wisteria are shorter, rounder, and more compact than those of Asian species, which have elongated blossoms with loose, dripping petals (rather pinecone shaped). Despite having less fragrant blossoms than Asian wisteria, American wisteria still has stunning flowers! The smooth seed pods of American wisteria can also be distinguished from the hairy seed pots of Chinese and Japanese varieties.

Don’t be deceived when planting American wisteria by the claim that it is “non-invasive”

The tenacious American wisteria swiftly covers arbors and reaches impressive heights in the trees. In comparison to Asian wisteria, it also grows more quickly and is more resistant to cold. Native to marshes in the southeast, American wisteria thrives in some sunlight.

Wisteria Fact

Did you know that the wisteria vines of various varieties entangle in various directions? While American and Japanese varieties climb clockwise, Chinese wisteria twines counterclockwise.

How to Grow American Wisteria

When cultivating American wisteria in your yard, remember to:

  • Water: Wisteria might require a little irrigation during dry seasons because it is a native of marshes.
  • Use a trellis: Instead of letting wisteria climb trees, train it to a trellis or arbor to keep it under control.
  • Gently Tie: Wisterias climb by twining (rather than clinging), so they may need to be gently tied to the trellis until they grow around it.
  • Keep Pruning: If a vine is not taken care of, it could grow out of control. Maintain wisteria in its intended location and cut back any sprouts or tendrils that stray onto nearby bushes or trees.