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Japanese wisteria is a deciduous, woody ornamental vine that climbs trees high into the canopy, to more than 60 feet. It twines upwards in a counter-clockwise direction. The stems are slender, brown and densely pubescent when young, becoming hairless with age. Older plants can grow to 15 in. or more in diameter. The leaves are alternate and compound, 8-12 in. long, with 7-17 (19) leaflets which are egg-shaped and have slightly wavy margins. In the mid-Atlantic region flowering occurs in April before the leaves expand. Flowers are violet to violet blue, occur in pendulous racemes (clusters) 1-3 ft in length and open sequentially from the base to the tip. The flowers are 0.6-0.7 in. long on stalks (pedicels) 0.6-0.8 in. long. Fruits are velvety pods 4.5-7.5 in. long, broader towards the tip, and contain 3-6 glossy orbicular violet purple seeds each about 0.5 in. across. The pods begin to appear soon after flowering, mature during the summer and may persist for quite a while on the vines.
Japanese wisteria prefers moist soils and full sun in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9. The plant often lives over fifty years. Ecological Threat: Invasions often occur around previous plantings. Wisteria floribunda can displace native vegetation and kill trees and shrubs by girdling them. The vine has the ability to change the structure of a forest by killing trees and altering the light availability to the forest floor. A native of Japan, it was first introduced into North America around 1830 for ornamental purposes.
Spotted growing on a wooded drive near an old church and cemetery and a utility plant.
Spotted on Apr 10, 2013
Submitted on Apr 15, 2013