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Useful Temperate Plants

Wisteria sinensis

(Sims) DC.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Glycine sinensis Sims

Kraunhia floribunda auct.

Millettia chinensis Benth.

Rehsonia sinensis (Sims) Stritch

Wisteria chinensis DC.

Wisteria floribunda auct.

Wisteria praecox Hand.-Mazz.

Common Name: Chinese Wisteria

No Image.

General Information

Wisteria sinensis is a vigorous, deciduous climbing shrub capable of growing to the tops of tall trees and also scrambling sideways. The trunks of old plants can exceed 150cm in diameter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. When given space, old specimens can spread laterally for 35 metres or more from each side of the main stem[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is often grown as an ornamental, valued especialy for its floral display in the late spring.
Wisteria sinensis is widely grown as an ornamental and has often escaped and become naturalized. It is considered to be a noxious weed in parts of the USA[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

Known Hazards

The seed of all members of this genus is poisonous[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The bark contains a glycoside and a resin that are both poisonous[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
The seed and seedpod contain a resin and a glycoside called wisterin. Toxic in large quantities, causing nausea, vomitting, stomach pain and diarrhoea[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. Their consumption has caused the poisoning of children in many countries, producing mild to severe gastro-enteritis[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
,
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

E. Asia - southern and central China [Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Yunnan]

Habitat

Clambering over cliffs and trees on woodland edges at low altitudes in W. China[
109
Title
Plantae Wilsonae. Vol 1 - 3
Publication
 
Author
Wilson. E. H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University Press; Cambridge.
Year
1911 - 1917
ISBN
 
Description
Details of the palnts collected by the plant collector E. H. Wilson on his travels in China. Gives some habitats. Not for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Climber
Height20.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Wisteria sinensis is moderately cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to around -15°c when fully dormant[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a good loamy soil in a sunny south or south-west facing position, sheltered from cold winds and from early morning sun on frosty mornings[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Succeeds in partial shade. Plants can become chlorotic on alkaline soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. A soil that is too rich results in excessive foliage at the expense of flowering[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A widely grown ornamental, the plant s as remarkable for its rapid growth as for its wealth of blossom[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. There are several named forms selected for their ornamental value[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
].
Plants can take a few years to settle down after planting out[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
]. Too much shade or too rich a soil are normally the culprits, some form of root restriction can be beneficial[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
].
Sparrows and other birds frequently eat the young buds of this plant and this is the commonest cause of poor flowering on established plants[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
]. Plants sometimes have a second season of flowering in August[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
].
The plants flower mainly on short spurs so, if removing unwanted side-branches, it is best to cut them back to 2 - 3 leaves rather than removing them completely since this will encourage the formation of flowering spurs[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
]. Any drastic pruning is best carried out in the spring, immediately after flowering[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
]. Plants are very tolerant of even the most drastic pruning and will re-grow even if cut right back to the base[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].
A climbing plant supporting itself by twining around other plants, the shoots twine in an anticlockwise direction[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
,
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].
Very tolerant of pruning, plants can regenerate from old wood[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
].
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Closely related to W. floribunda[
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plants also form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus which makes more water, phosphorus and other minerals available to the plants[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at the top of the page.

Flowers - cooked. They are thoroughly washed and then boiled or made into fritters[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
179
Title
Famine Foods listed in the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
Publication
 
Author
Reid. B. E.
Publisher
Southern Materials Centre; Taipei
Year
1977
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The flowers are also cured in sugar then mixed with flour and made into a famous local delicacy called 'Teng Lo'[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].

The leaves contain allantoic acid[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. They are used as a tea substitute[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. The young leaves have also been eaten[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].

Medicinal

The seed is diuretic[
178
Title
Chinese Materia Medica.
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. Rev. G. A.
Publisher
Taipei. Southern Materials Centre
Year
1911
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
,
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. It is used in the treatment of heart ailments[
178
Title
Chinese Materia Medica.
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. Rev. G. A.
Publisher
Taipei. Southern Materials Centre
Year
1911
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
,
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

One report says that the stems and flowers are also used in Chinese medicine, but gives no more information[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].

Other Uses

A fibre from the stems can be used to make paper, the fibre is about 1.3 - 3.7mm long[
189
Title
Plant Fibres for Papermaking.
Publication
 
Author
Bell. L. A.
Publisher
Liliaceae Press
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
A good practical section on how to make paper on a small scale plus details of about 75 species (quite a few of them tropical) that can be used.
]. Stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed until the fibre can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is a buff colour[
189
Title
Plant Fibres for Papermaking.
Publication
 
Author
Bell. L. A.
Publisher
Liliaceae Press
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
A good practical section on how to make paper on a small scale plus details of about 75 species (quite a few of them tropical) that can be used.
].

An extract of the seeds has been used as an insecticide[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].

An extract of the plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

The seed does not exhibit any dormancy habits. It can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame and should germinate in the spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seedbed in late spring[
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
]. Germination should take place in the first spring, though it can sometimes be delayed for another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Plants are very slow from seed and can take up to 20 years to come into flower[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Basal cuttings of side-shoots in early to mid summer in a frame[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Take the cuttings as soon as the new growth has hardened sufficiently, each cutting should have 2 - 3 leaves[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
]. It can also help to remove a shallow slice of bark from the bottom 15mm of the cutting to expose extra cambium, since this will encourage more callusing and better rooting[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
]. When kept in a mist frame with a bottom heat of 27 - 30°c, they will root within 4 weeks and produce well-established plants by the autumn[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].
Layering in spring. Simply lay any convenient long shoot along the ground and cover it with a shallow layer of soil. The shoot will readily produce roots at intervals along the stem. When these are well formed, the shoot can be divided up into a number of plants. These should be potted up and kept in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until well established and can then be planted out as required.
Division of suckers in the winter[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
]. If growing named varieties, it is of course necessary to ensure they are growing on their own roots if the suckers are to be true to type[
249
Title
Wisterias: a comprehensive guide.
Publication
 
Author
Valder. P.
Publisher
Florilegium. Australia.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-646-22049-7
Description
Excellent information and photographs of this genus with a little bit about their uses.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-06-16. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Wisteria+sinensis>

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