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Wisteria sinensis

Wisteria sinensis (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Wisterieae
Genus: Wisteria
Species: Wisteria sinensis

Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC., Prodr. 2: 390 (1825).

Glycine sinensis Sims, Bot. Mag. 46: t. 2083 (1819).
Wisteria sinensis (Sims) Sweet, Hort. Brit.: 121 (1826), isonym.
Kraunhia sinensis (Sims) Greene, Pittonia 2: 175 (1891).
Glycine chinensis Sims, Bot. Mag. 46: t. 2083 (1819), orth. var..
Rehsonia sinensis (Sims) Stritch, Phytologia 56: 183 (1984).
Wisteria polystachya K.Koch, Dendrologie 1: 62 (1869).
Wisteria brevidentata Rehder, J. Arnold Arbor. 7: 163 (1926).
Rehsonia brevidentata (Rehder) Stritch, Phytologia 56: 184 (1984).
Wisteria praecox Hand.-Mazz., Anz. Akad. Wiss. Wien, Math.-Naturwiss. Kl. 58: 177 (1921).
Wisteria villosa Rehder, J. Arnold Arbor. 7: 162 (1926).
Rehsonia villosa (Rehder) Stritch, Phytologia 56: 184 (1984).
Wisteria sinensis var. alba Lindl., J. Hort. Soc. London 4: 221 (1849).

Native distribution areas:
Primary references

De Candolle, A.P. 1825. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, sive enumeratio contracta ordinum, generum, specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta. Pars 2: Sistens Calyciflorarum ordines X. 644 pp. Treuttel et Würtz, Parisiis [Paris]. BHL Reference page. : 390

Additional references

Compton, J.A. 2015. Wisteria sinensis on the slow boat from China: The journey of Wisteria to England. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 32(3–4): 248–293. DOI: 10.1111/curt.12112 Paywall Reference page.
Compton, J.A., Schrire, B.D., Könyves, K., Forest, F., Malakasi, P., Mattapha, S. & Sirichamorn, Y. 2019. The Callerya Group redefined and Tribe Wisterieae (Fabaceae) emended based on morphology and data from nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences. PhytoKeys 125: 1–112. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.125.34877 Open access. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Wisteria sinensis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 22. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Wisteria sinensis. Published online. Accessed: Jun 22 2021. 2021. Wisteria sinensis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 22.
Hassler, M. 2021. Wisteria sinensis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Jun 22. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. . Wisteria sinensis. Accessed: 22 Jun 2021.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Wisteria sinensis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
dansk: Kinesisk Blåregn
English: Chinese Wisteria
español: Flor de la Pluma
suomi: Kiinansinisade
日本語: シナフジ
Nederlands: Chinese blauweregen
svenska: Blåregn
中文: 紫藤

Wisteria sinensis, commonly known as the Chinese wisteria, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, native to China, in the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, and Yunnan. Growing 20–30 m (66–98 ft) tall, it is a deciduous vine. It is widely cultivated in temperate regions for its twisting stems and masses of scented flowers in hanging racemes, in spring.


Wisteria sinensis clings to supporting plants or man-made structures by counterclockwise-twining stems. The leaves are shiny, green, pinnately compound, 10–30 cm in length, with 9-13 oblong leaflets that are each 2–6 cm long. The flowers are white, violet, or blue, produced on 15–20 cm racemes before the leaves emerge in spring. The flowers on each raceme open simultaneously before the foliage has expanded, and have a distinctive fragrance similar to that of grapes. Though it has shorter racemes than Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria), it often has a higher quantity of racemes. The fruit is a flattened, brown, velvety, bean-like pod 5–10 cm long with thick disk-like seeds around 1 cm in diameter spaced evenly inside; they mature in summer and crack and twist open to release the seeds; the empty pods often persist until winter. However seed production is often low, and most regenerative growth occurs through layering and suckering.

All parts of the plant contain a glycoside called wisterin which is toxic if ingested and may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Wisterias have caused poisoning in children of many countries, producing mild to severe gastroenteritis.
Cultivation and history
Season-impression animation of a free standing specimen at the Tsubo-en Zen garden
Wisteria sinensis as a weed in South Carolina, U.S.A.

Wisteria sinensis was unknown in the west before 1816, when several agents of the East India Company working in China sent cuttings back to England.[1] Over the next several decades the plant became, and remains, one of the quintessential ornamental vines in temperate gardens worldwide. A 200-year-old specimen, growing at Griffin's Brewery in Chiswick, London, is often cited as the UK's oldest living wisteria plant.[2][3]

It has become an invasive species in some areas of the eastern United States[4] where the climate closely matches that of China.

Wisteria sinensis is most commonly trained along garden walls, along the exterior of buildings, or over a pergola to create avenues of overhanging blossoms during bloom. It may also be trained as a freestanding tree.

Chinese wisteria is more sensitive to cold than American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) and Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda). Although root hardy to USDA Zone 5 (-20 Fahrenheit), the vine can suffer serious dieback during such cold snaps. Moreover, the frequency of spring frosts in Zones 5 and 6 can kill latent flower buds, so that the plant might only bloom sporadically.

A one-acre (4,000 m2) specimen located in Sierra Madre, California is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's largest blossoming plant.[5]

A white-flowering cultivar, Wisteria sinensis 'Alba', was discovered in a garden by botanist Robert Fortune in 1844, from which he took cuttings for the Royal Horticultural Society.[6]

In addition to the white 'Alba', 'Prolific' features the classic purple flowers, but in greater abundance with larger racemes. It also blooms at an earlier age than the traditional cultivar.[7] The variety 'Amethyst' has deeper colored reddish violet flowers that are extremely fragrant.[8] The cultivars 'Prolific',[9] 'Amethyst'[10] and 'Jako'[11] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit[12]


"Wisteria..." Parks & Gardens UK. 2014-02-08. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
"Battle to save historic wisteria (From Your Local Guardian)". Retrieved 2015-07-30.
"The oldest wisteria in England". 2015-05-06. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
"Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC". Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
Palma, Claudia (March 10, 2016). What to know if you're heading to Sierra Madre's Wistaria Festival. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
"Wisteria..." Parks & Gardens UK. 2014-02-08. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
"Wisteria sinensi 'Prolific'". Retrieved 2017-11-29.
Peter., Valder (1995). Wisterias : a comprehensive guide. Portland, Or.: Timber Press. ISBN 0881923184. OCLC 32647814.
"Wisteria sinensis 'Prolific'". RHS. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
"Wisteria sinensis 'Amethyst'". RHS. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
"Wisteria sinensis f. alba 'Jako'". RHS. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 108. Retrieved 18 February 2019.

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