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Overview

Brief Summary

History in the United States

Japanese wisteria was introduced from Japan around 1830 as an ornamental. It has been grown extensively in the southern U.S. as a decorative addition to porches, gazebos, walls, and gardens. Most infestations in natural areas are a result of escapes from landscape plantings.

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U.S. National Park Service Weeds Gone Wild website

Source: U.S. National Park Service

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History in the United States

Japanese wisteria was introduced to the U.S. in 1830. It has been widely planted and cultivated and is still very popular in the nursery trade despite its weedy and destructive habits. It is probably frequently misidentified as Chinese wisteria.

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Distribution

More info for the term: natural

As their names imply, Japanese and Chinese wisteria are native to Japan and China, respectively [34]. Chinese wisteria was brought to the United States for horticultural purposes in 1816 [45], while Japanese wisteria was introduced around 1830 [30]. Wisterias are used extensively in the southern and mid-Atlantic states to adorn porches, gazebos, walls, gardens and parks, and most infestations in natural areas are the result of plants escaping from such settings [34]. As of 2009, distributional maps of the United States show wisterias concentrated in the southeast, with spotty distributions to the north and west. Japanese wisteria is found as far west as Texas, east to Florida, north to Maine, and west to Illinois. Chinese wisteria is found as far west as Texas, east to Florida, north to Vermont, and west to Michigan. Chinese wisteria also occurs in Hawaii. The high rate of hybridization in wisteria plants in the southeastern states [35,36] may make distribution maps for the individual species suspect. Plants Database provides current distribution maps for both Japanese and Chinese wisteria.
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 36. Trusty, Jennifer L.; Goertzen, Leslie R.; Zipperer, Wayne C.; Lockaby, B-Graeme. 2007. Invasive Wisteria in the southeastern United States: genetic diversity, hybridization, and the role of urban centers. Urban Ecosystems. 10(4): 379-395. [72451]
  • 45. Wells, Elizabeth Fortson; Brown, Rebecca Louise. 2000. An annotated checklist of the vascular plants in the forest at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia: a legacy from the past. Castanea. 65(4): 242-257. [47363]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Distribution in the United States

Japanese wisteria has been reported to be invasive in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast from Tennessee to South Carolina north to New Jersey and by six national parks in that area. Its distribution may span a much larger area as it is often misidentified as Chinese wisteria which is reported to occur from Louisiana to Massachusetts. Identification of these two very similar looking exotic species is difficult and frequently confused.

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U.S. National Park Service Weeds Gone Wild website

Source: U.S. National Park Service

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Native Range

Japan
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U.S. National Park Service Weeds Gone Wild website

Source: U.S. National Park Service

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Distribution and Habitat in the United States

Japanese wisteria is found invasive in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S., from New York to Florida and west to Texas. Wisteria prefers full sun, but established vines will persist and reproduce in partial shade. Vines climb trees, shrubs and manmade structures. It is tolerant of a variety of soil and moisture regimes but prefers deep, loamy, well drained soils. Infestations are commonly found along forest edges, roadsides, ditches, and rights-of-way.

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Origin

Japan

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Kraunhia floribunda (Willd.) Taub.:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC.:
United States (North America)
China (Asia)
Japan (Asia)
Canada (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: shrub, vine, vines

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [24]).

Both Japanese and Chinese wisteria are showy, ornamental perennial lianas that commonly climb, twine, or trail on the ground [21,34]. Chinese wisteria is also occasionally described as a shrub [8,19]. Both species have been observed 65 feet (20 m) high in the canopy [34], and there are records of vines 70 feet (21 m) long [21]. The species look similar to each other and can be difficult to distinguish because they hybridize [21,35]. One way to differentiate the species is by examining the direction of vine twining; Chinese wisteria vines twine clockwise, while Japanese wisteria vines twine counter-clockwise [22].

Roots: One flora describes Chinese wisteria roots as few but "deeply penetrating" [41].

Stems: Stems of older wisteria plants can grow 15 inches (38 cm) in diameter, and have infrequent, alternate branches [34].

Leaves: Compound leaves of wisterias are about 1 foot (0.3 m) in length and alternate along the stem. Japanese wisteria leaves consist of 13 to 19 leaflets, while Chinese wisteria leaves consist of 7 to 13 leaflets [34].

Flowers: Wisteria flowers are dangling and showy, blue-violet, and are borne on racemes. Racemes are 4 to 20 inches (10-50 cm) long and 3 to 4 inches (7-10 cm) wide. All Chinese wisteria flowers bloom at the same time, while Japanese wisteria flowers bloom in sequence, starting at the base [21].

Fruits: Wisteria fruits are velvety brown seed pods, 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) long, narrowed toward the base, with constrictions in the pods that separate the seeds [34]. Each pod contains 1 to 8 flat, round, brown seeds, each 0.5 to 1 inch (1.2-2.5 cm) in diameter [21].

  • 8. Dowhan, Joseph J.; Rozsa, Ron. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk County, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(3): 265-282. [22041]
  • 19. Miller, J. H. 1995. Exotic plants in southern forests: their nature and control. In: Street, J. E., ed. Herbicide-resistant crops: a bitter or better harvest; 1995 January 16-18; Memphis, TN. In: Proceedings, Southern Weed Science Society 48th annual meeting. Champaign, IL: Southern Weed Science Society; 48: 120-126. [51347]
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 41. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 22. Miller, James H. 2006. Non-native wisteria control with herbicides. Wildland Weeds. [Volume unknown] 19-21. [72465]
  • 24. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Description

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.

NOTE: Look-alikes: 1) American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), native to the southeastern U.S. into southern Virginia, twines clockwise, stems brown to reddish brown and hairless, leaves with 9-15 leaflets, lower surface somewhat milky green, flowers in May after the leaves have expanded, flower clusters are 1.5-6 in. long, shorter than both Chinese and Japanese wisteria, flower pedicels 0.2-0.4 in long, seedpods 2-4 in. long, brown and smooth (non-hairy); 2) Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) also twines clockwise; stems are stout, gray-brown and covered with fine white hairs; leaves have 9 to 11 (7-13) leaflets; flowers are lavender to purple in racemes 6-8 in. long and open mostly all at once; flowers are 0.8-0.9 in. long on stalks (pedicels) 0.6-0.8 in. long; 3) trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) native to central and eastern U.S.; has opposite leaves with toothed leaflets and orange-red flowers that bloom from late spring through summer and into fall.

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U.S. National Park Service Weeds Gone Wild website

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Description and Biology

  • Plant: deciduous woody, twining vine that climbs upwards in a counter-clockwise direction; stems are slender, brown and densely hairy when young, becoming hairless with age; older plants can grow to 15 in. or more in diameter.
  • Leaves: alternate, compound, 8-12 in. long, with 13-17 (11-19) leaflets; leaflets egg-shaped with wavy-margins and strongly tapering tips.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowering occurs in April before the leaves expand; flowers are violet to violet blue, occur in pendulous racemes 1-3 ft. in length and open sequentially from the base to the tip; flowers are 0.6-0.7 in. long on 0.6-0.8 in. long stalks (pedicels); fruits are velvety pods 4½-7½ in. long, broader towards the tip, and contain 3-6 round, flattened seeds each about ½ in. in diameter; pods begin to appear soon after flowering, mature during the summer and may persist for quite a while on the vines.
  • Spreads: by seed which, in riparian areas, is transported by water; vegetatively by producing stolons (above-ground stems) that produce shoots and roots at short intervals.
  • Look-alikes: Chinese wisteria; American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) with leaves 7-12 in. long, 9-15 leaflets of uniform size, margins plane, tips acute to slightly tapering, smooth bright green above, undersides slightly milky; flowers in May after leaf expansion, flower clusters 4-6 in. long and not especially pendulous, individual flowers about ¾ in. long, pale lilac-purple with a yellow spot; fruit green and glabrous (not hairy); seeds swollen, bean to kidney-shaped; and trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) with opposite, compound leaves, leaflet margins toothed, flowers red-orange, tubular and bloom late spring through summer.

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Physical Description

Perennial, Trees, Vines, twining, climbing, Woody throughout, Plants with rhizomes or suckers, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems or branches arching, spreading or decumbent, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems 1-2 m tall, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Leaves absent at flowering time, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules inconspicuous, absent, or caducous, Stipules setiform, subulate or acicular, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves odd pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Stipels present at base of leaflets, Leaflets 10-many, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence or flowers lax, declined or pendulous, Brac ts conspicuously present, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Bracts hairy, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 2-lipped or 2-lobed, Calyx hairy, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals blue, lavander to purple, or violet, Banner petal suborbicular, broadly rounded, Banner petal auriculate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing petals auriculate, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Keel petals fused on sides or at tip, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Style hairy, Fruit a legume, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit coriaceous or becoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit compressed between seeds, Fruit hairy, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Fruit 11-many seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: hardwood, mesic, shrub

Wisterias form dense infestations that spread from horticultural plantings [21,35]. They tend to establish and spread in forest edges, disturbed areas, and riparian zones [35], as well as roadsides, ditches, and rights-of-way [30]. Wisterias grow best in full sun but are tolerant of shade [17,30].

Soil: One review states that wisterias tolerate a variety of soil and moisture levels in the southeastern United States [35]. In Virginia, both species are listed as occurring on mesic sites [42]. In the southeastern United States, Japanese wisteria tolerates a variety of soil and moisture regimes but prefers loamy, deep, and well-drained soil [30]. One flora from the Southwest indicates that Chinese wisteria prefers deep, rich soil [41]. At Fire Island National Seashore, Suffolk County, New York, an isolated Chinese wisteria shrub was found growing in moist sand along a bayshore [8].

Climate: Two studies offered limited climate data for locations with Chinese wisteria. At Fire Island National Seashore, Suffolk County, New York, the mean annual temperature was 50 ºF (10 ºC) and annual precipitation was approximately 45 inches (1143 mm) [8]. In Durham and Orange Counties in North Carolina, mean daily maximum temperatures of 88.7 ºF (31.5 ºC) occurred in July, and mean daily minimum temperatures of 29.8 ºF (-1.2 ºC) occurred in January. Annual precipitation was 41 inches (1,052 mm) [18].

Elevation: Chinese wisteria occurs at 3,000 to 3,500 feet (900-1,000 m) in Bolivia [12]. Elevation ranges for wisterias in North America were not found in the available literature (2009).

Flooding: Chinese wisteria is considered problematic in bottomland hardwood forests, a plant community which experiences frequent flooding [32].

  • 8. Dowhan, Joseph J.; Rozsa, Ron. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk County, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(3): 265-282. [22041]
  • 18. McDonald, Robert I.; Urban, Dean L. 2006. Edge effects on species composition and exotic species abundance in the North Carolina Piedmont. Biological Invasions. 8: 1049-1060. [68821]
  • 32. Stanturf, J. A.; Conner, W. H.; Gardiner, E. S.; Schweitzer, C. J.; Ezell, A. W. 2004. Recognizing and overcoming difficult site conditions for afforestation of bottomland hardwoods. Ecological Restoration. 22(3): 183-193. [51278]
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 41. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 12. Jorgensen, Peter Moller. 2004. Bolivia checklist, [Online]. In: St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_infor.aspx?flora_id=40 [2009, February 26]. [73151]
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 42. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. 2003. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia, [Online]. Virginia Native Plant Society (Producer). Available: http://www.dcr.state.va.us/dnh/invlist.pdf [2005, June 17]. [44942]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: fire regime, hardwood, nonnative species, presence, restoration, tree

Plant community associations of nonnative species are often difficult to describe accurately
because detailed survey information is lacking, there are gaps in understanding of nonnative
species' ecological characteristics, and nonnative species may still be expanding their North
American range. Though known to have a broad distribution, as of 2009 there were very few
published descriptions of plant communities in which either wisteria species occurs.
Therefore, wisterias likely occur in plant communities other than those discussed here and listed
in the Fire Regime Table.
Chinese wisteria was found at the forest edge at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, where most
of the forest was described as mature oak-hickory (Quercus spp.-Carya spp.) [45].
Similarly, it occurred in the North Carolina Piedmont of Durham and Orange Counties in undisturbed
sites dominated by a temperate cold-deciduous forest mixture of oaks and hickories. In this same
region, Chinese wisteria also occurred in areas of disturbed forest and abandoned
agricultural land dominated by an overstory of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). It was found
with a number of other nonnative species, including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima),
mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), princesstree (Paulownia tomentosa), multiflora rose
(Rosa multiflora), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), and Japanese honeysuckle
(Lonicera japonica) [18].

In a Washington D.C. park, Chinese wisteria occurred with the overstory tree
species yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), American beech (Fagus grandifolia),
American elm (Ulmus americana), black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia), northern red oak
(Q. rubra), and sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). It was itself being climbed by western
poison-ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergi) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) [26].

The presence of Chinese wisteria is listed as a problem in the restoration of
bottomland hardwood forests in Mississippi [32], which may be part of the southern floodplain forest
type, with dominant species such as black tupelo (Nyassa sylvatica), sweetgum
(Liquidambar spp.), oaks, baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), and pines
(Pinus spp.) [9]. Chinese wisteria also occurred in an old-growth forest
remnant stand dominated by longleaf pine (P. palustrus), a particularly rare southeastern
forest type [40].

The only published record of plant community associations for Japanese wisteria
noted that it was found alongside other nonnative species in a New Jersey forest preserve dominated
by oaks, American beech, and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) [41].

  • 9. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; Lewis, Mont E.; Smith, Dixie R. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
  • 18. McDonald, Robert I.; Urban, Dean L. 2006. Edge effects on species composition and exotic species abundance in the North Carolina Piedmont. Biological Invasions. 8: 1049-1060. [68821]
  • 26. Putz, Francis E. 1995. Relay ascension of big trees by vines in Rock Creek Park, District of Columbia. Castanea. 60(2): 167-169. [40214]
  • 32. Stanturf, J. A.; Conner, W. H.; Gardiner, E. S.; Schweitzer, C. J.; Ezell, A. W. 2004. Recognizing and overcoming difficult site conditions for afforestation of bottomland hardwoods. Ecological Restoration. 22(3): 183-193. [51278]
  • 40. Varner, J. Morgan, III; Kush, John S. 2004. Remnant old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savannas and forests of the southeastern USA: status and threats. Natural Areas Journal. 24(2): 141-149. [50968]
  • 45. Wells, Elizabeth Fortson; Brown, Rebecca Louise. 2000. An annotated checklist of the vascular plants in the forest at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia: a legacy from the past. Castanea. 65(4): 242-257. [47363]

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Habitat in the United States

Wisteria prefers full sun, but established vines will persist and reproduce in partial shade. Vines climb trees, shrubs and manmade structures. It is tolerant of a variety of soil and moisture regimes but prefers deep, loamy, well drained soils. Infestations are commonly found along forest edges, roadsides, ditches, and rights-of-way.

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U.S. National Park Service Weeds Gone Wild website

Source: U.S. National Park Service

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fire suppression, restoration

Potential for postfire establishment and spread: As of 2009, no studies documented the establishment or spread of either wisteria species after fire. The large seed size and consequent lack of long-distance dispersal suggest that it would be difficult for wisterias to establish by seed unless the fire occurred near a riparian area or a source population of wisteria. However, the ability for the species to spread vegetatively, combined with a preference for sunny environments [17,30], suggests that wisterias may be problematic in postfire habitats if intact populations are nearby.

Preventing postfire establishment and spread: Preventing invasive plants from establishing in weed-free burned areas is the most effective and least costly management method. This can be accomplished through early detection and eradication, careful monitoring and followup, and limiting dispersal of invasive plant propagules into burned areas. Specific recommendations include:

  • incorporate cost of weed prevention and management into fire rehabilitation plans
  • acquire restoration funding
  • include weed prevention education in fire training
  • minimize soil disturbance and vegetation removal during fire suppression and rehabilitation activities
  • minimize the use of retardants containing nitrogen and phosphorus
  • avoid areas dominated by high priority invasive plants when locating firelines, monitoring camps, staging areas, and helibases
  • clean equipment and vehicles prior to entering burned areas
  • regulate or prevent human and livestock entry into burned areas until desirable site vegetation has recovered sufficiently to resist invasion by undesirable vegetation
  • monitor burned areas and areas of significant disturbance or traffic from management activity
  • detect weeds early and eradicate before vegetative spread and/or seed dispersal
  • eradicate small patches and contain or control large infestations within or adjacent to the burned area
  • reestablish vegetation on bare ground as soon as possible
  • avoid use of fertilizers in postfire rehabilitation and restoration
  • use only certified weed-free seed mixes when revegetation is necessary

For more detailed information on these topics see the following publications: [2,5,10,38].

Use of fire as a control agent: As of 2009, there were no studies that tested the efficacy of using fire to control wisteria populations.

  • 2. Asher, Jerry; Dewey, Steven; Olivarez, Jim; Johnson, Curt. 1998. Minimizing weed spread following wildland fires. Proceedings, Western Society of Weed Science. 51: 49. [40409]
  • 5. Brooks, Matthew L.; Pyke, David A. 2001. Invasive plants and fire in the deserts of North America. In: Galley, Krista E. M.; Wilson, Tyrone P., eds. Proceedings of the invasive species workshop: The role of fire in the control and spread of invasive species; Fire conference 2000: 1st national congress on fire ecology, prevention, and management; 2000 November 27 - December 1; San Diego, CA. Misc. Publ. No. 11. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 1-14. [40491]
  • 10. Goodwin, Kim; Sheley, Roger; Clark, Janet. 2002. Integrated noxious weed management after wildfires. EB-160. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension Service. 46 p. Available online: http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/eb160.html [2003, October 1]. [45303]
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 38. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 2001. Guide to noxious weed prevention practices. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. Available online: http://www.fs.fed.us/rangelands/ftp/invasives/documents/GuidetoNoxWeedPrevPractices_07052001.pdf [2005, October 25]. [37889]

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Fuels and Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: density, fire exclusion, fire intensity, fire regime, fuel, fuel loading, hardwood, natural, presence, vines

Fuels: As of 2009, no studies specifically addressed fuel characteristics of wisterias. One review suggests that Chinese wisteria, along with a number of other invasive vines, has the potential to alter the fuel characteristics of invaded communities. Specifically, invasive vines could increase fuel loading and continuity, and contribute to the likelihood of crown fire by acting as a ladder fuel [7]. The density, spatial extent, and climbing nature of wisteria populations suggest that they may alter fuel characteristics in invaded communities.

FIRE REGIMES: It is not known what type of fire regime wisterias are best adapted to. In North America, they are found in plant communities that experience both long (e.g., northern hardwood, southern floodplain forests) and short (e.g., oak-hickory-pine communities) fire-return intervals (see Fire Regime Table). In many areas where wisterias occur, historic FIRE REGIMES have been dramatically altered due to fire exclusion and massive disturbances associated with human settlement, and the potential natural vegetation may be difficult to discern.

It is unclear how the presence of wisterias may affect FIRE REGIMES in invaded communities. In ecosystems where wisterias replace plants with similar fuel characteristics, they may alter fire intensity or slightly modify an existing fire regime. If wisteria spread introduces novel fuel properties to the invaded ecosystem, fire behavior, and potentially fire regime, may be altered (see: [4,6]). This topic warrants additional study.

  • 6. D'Antonio, Carla M. 2000. Fire, plant invasions, and global changes. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Hobbs, Richard J., eds. Invasive species in a changing world. Washington, DC: Island Press: 65-93. [37679]
  • 7. Dibble, Alison C.; Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler. 2008. Chapter 5: Fire and nonnative invasive plants in the Northeast bioregion. In: Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L., eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rem. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 61-90. [70902]
  • 4. Brooks, Matthew L.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Richardson, David M.; Grace, James B.; Keeley, Jon E.; DiTomaso, Joseph M.; Hobbs, Richard J.; Pellant, Mike; Pyke, David. 2004. Effects of invasive alien plants on FIRE REGIMES. BioScience. 54(7): 677-688. [50224]

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Successional Status

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More info for the term: vine

Wisterias grow best in full sun but are capable of tolerating and reproducing in partial shade [30,35,42]. While Chinese wisteria has been observed on the edge of mid- and late-successional forests [45], occurrence within the forest interior is not well-documented. The ability of wisterias to spread vegetatively suggests that they could move into the forest interior if favorable light conditions were created through disturbances. Observations of Japanese wisteria climbing surrounding vegetation in the direction of sunlight [30] suggest that this vine may spread and fill in canopy gaps as they are created.

Once established in an area, wisterias may persist for a long time and eventually alter successional pathways for the area they inhabit. It has been repeatedly noted that infestations of wisteria are so dense that they strangle or shade out existing vegetation and displace native species [30,34,35]. Heavy infestations that topple large canopy trees and increase sunlight to the forest floor could favor colonizing species, including wisteria seedlings [34].

Because wisterias typically use other vegetation as support, it is not clear what their response would be following a disturbance that removed all potential supporting vegetation.

  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 45. Wells, Elizabeth Fortson; Brown, Rebecca Louise. 2000. An annotated checklist of the vascular plants in the forest at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia: a legacy from the past. Castanea. 65(4): 242-257. [47363]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]
  • 42. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. 2003. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia, [Online]. Virginia Native Plant Society (Producer). Available: http://www.dcr.state.va.us/dnh/invlist.pdf [2005, June 17]. [44942]

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Vegetative regeneration

More info for the term: vines

Although seeds are produced in favorable conditions, vegetative growth is the main method of wisteria spread [17,30]. Reviews describe vines [21,22] and stolons [21,34] rooting at nodes. One review also notes the ability of Japanese wisteria to sprout repeatedly after mechanical damage, either from the stump or from any fragment of root system left in the ground [30]. Rates and distances of spread are not known, though individual vines have been documented at over 70 feet (21 m) long [21].
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 22. Miller, James H. 2006. Non-native wisteria control with herbicides. Wildland Weeds. [Volume unknown] 19-21. [72465]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Seedling establishment and plant growth

More info for the terms: cover, formation, tree, vines

Seedling establishment and plant growth:
Canopy gap formation which occurs when wisteria topples a large tree favors the growth of wisteria seedlings [34] and existing wisteria plants [17]. Once established in an area, wisteria patches can potentially cover several acres (see Impacts). One review states that Japanese wisteria plants can grow for more than 50 years [30], while another paper states that individual vines of both species can live for more than100 years [35].
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: breeding system, vines

There is very little information available about the reproductive and regeneration strategies of wisterias. The information available suggests that although seeds are produced in favorable conditions, vegetative growth from rooting of vines and stolons is the main method of wisteria spread [17,30]. Following injury, Japanese wisteria sprouts from the stump and from root fragments [30].

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Raunkiaer [27] life form:
Phanerophyte
  • 27. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the terms: liana, vine

Vine-liana

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Fire Regime Table

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Germination

No information is available on this topic.

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Seed production

No information is available on this topic.

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Seed dispersal

Wisteria pods and seeds are large and heavy, which limits dispersal by birds and mammals [21,22]. Seeds are water-dispersed along riparian areas and can travel great distances this way [21,22,30,34].
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 22. Miller, James H. 2006. Non-native wisteria control with herbicides. Wildland Weeds. [Volume unknown] 19-21. [72465]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Pollination and breeding system

Hummingbirds were observed visiting Chinese wisteria [25].
  • 25. Pickens, A.L. 1931. Some flowers visited by birds. The Condor. 33(1): 23-28. [72445]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

For both species, flowering occurs in spring (April-May) [34] and fruits are formed from July to November [21].
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]

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Reproduction

Biology and Spread

Wisteria is a long-lived perennial, surviving 50 years or more. Vegetative reproduction is the primary means of growth and spread. Slender stems (stolons, runners) grow horizontally across the ground and develop new plants (roots and shoots) at the nodes. Seeds may be produced when conditions are favorable. In riparian areas these may be carried by water downstream for great distances.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Wisteria floribunda

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Wisteria floribunda

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 26
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Information on state-level noxious weed status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Management

Impacts and Control

More info for the terms: cover, fire management, hardwood, invasive species, prescribed fire, presence, restoration, vine, vines

Impacts: Information regarding the impacts of wisterias on invaded communities includes evidence that both species displace existing vegetation by strangling or shading out native plants and trees [17,21,30,34,35]. The death of large trees from wisteria establishment results in breaks in closed canopy forest, which favors further growth and spread of wisteria [17]. Once established in an area, wisteria patches can potentially cover several acres; one herbicide experiment in Alabama was conducted in a Chinese wisteria patch that covered 2 to 3 acres (1 ha) [22]. The presence of Chinese wisteria was listed as a problem in the restoration of bottomland hardwood forests in Mississippi [32] and threatens old-growth remnant stands of longleaf pine in the Southeast [40]. Chinese wisteria is also listed as occurring on National Wildlife Refuges in Florida [16].

While both wisteria species are listed as invasive species of concern in a number of states, information as of 2009 suggests that they are less of a perceived threat than other, co-occurring invasive species [23,29,37,44]. For example, in a paper describing woody invaders of eastern forests, Japanese and Chinese wisteria are not considered as much of a threat as other woody vines, including Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), or kudzu (Pueraria montana) [44]. However, that status may change in the future.

Control: In all cases where invasive species are targeted for control, the potential for other invasive species to fill their void must be considered, no matter what method is employed [5]. Information presented in the following sections may not be comprehensive and is not intended to be prescriptive in nature. It is intended to help managers understand the ecology and control of wisterias in the context of fire management. For more detailed information on control of Japanese or Chinese wisteria, consult the references cited here or local extension services.

Fire: For information on the use of prescribed fire to control this species see Fire Management Considerations.

Prevention: No information is available on this topic.

Cultural: No information is available on this topic.

Physical and/or mechanical: One review outlines strategies for cutting climbing or trailing vines of Japanese wisteria. Wisteria can sprout numerous times after cutting, so the treatment must be repeated until root stores are exhausted. If done approximately every 2 weeks from spring until autumn, cutting prevents seed production and strangulation of surrounding vegetation. This type of treatment is appropriate for small populations, as a pre-treatment for large, impenetrable sites, or in areas where herbicides are not appropriate [30].

It is also possible to try to control juvenile or isolated Japanese wisteria plants using a pulaski or similar digging tool to remove the entire plant, including all roots and runners. Any portions of the root system not removed are capable of sprouting. This treatment is appropriate for small initial populations or areas where herbicide use is not feasible [30].

Biological: No information is available on this topic.

Chemical: A range of foliar spray herbicides has been effectively used for wisteria control [22,30], though high rates and repeated applications were needed to produce near-eradication [22] and it was possible to damage non-target species with treatment. Cut-stump application of glyphosate or triclopyr 2 inches (5 cm) above ground level was also found to be effective for Japanese wisteria control, though foliar spray treatments may be needed afterward to compensate for the stimulation of wisteria seedlings after large vine removal [30]. Care must be taken when other invasive species are present; in one herbicide treatment, the reduction in Chinese wisteria cover released the invasive Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), which was not impacted by the herbicides [22].

Integrated management: No information is available on this topic.

  • 5. Brooks, Matthew L.; Pyke, David A. 2001. Invasive plants and fire in the deserts of North America. In: Galley, Krista E. M.; Wilson, Tyrone P., eds. Proceedings of the invasive species workshop: The role of fire in the control and spread of invasive species; Fire conference 2000: 1st national congress on fire ecology, prevention, and management; 2000 November 27 - December 1; San Diego, CA. Misc. Publ. No. 11. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 1-14. [40491]
  • 32. Stanturf, J. A.; Conner, W. H.; Gardiner, E. S.; Schweitzer, C. J.; Ezell, A. W. 2004. Recognizing and overcoming difficult site conditions for afforestation of bottomland hardwoods. Ecological Restoration. 22(3): 183-193. [51278]
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 40. Varner, J. Morgan, III; Kush, John S. 2004. Remnant old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savannas and forests of the southeastern USA: status and threats. Natural Areas Journal. 24(2): 141-149. [50968]
  • 16. Maffei, Mark D. 1994. Invasive non-indigenous species on national wildlife refuges in Florida. In: Schmita, Don C.; Brown, Tom C., eds. An assessment of invasive non-indigenous species in Florida's public lands. Technical Report No. TSS-94-100. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Environmental Resource Permitting, Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management: 179-185. [55880]
  • 44. Webster, Christopher R.; Jenkins, Michael A.; Jose, Shibu. 2006. Woody invaders and the challenges they pose to forest ecosystems in the eastern United States. Journal of Forestry. 104(7): 366-374. [65270]
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]
  • 21. Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p. Available: hhtp://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs062/ [2004, December 10]. [50788]
  • 22. Miller, James H. 2006. Non-native wisteria control with herbicides. Wildland Weeds. [Volume unknown] 19-21. [72465]
  • 23. Missouri Botanical Garden. 2002. Missouri exotic pest plants: Category B, [Online]. Missouri Botanical Garden (Producer). Available: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/mepp/categoryB.shtml [2004, December 23]. [51511]
  • 29. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council, Tennessee Chapter. 2001. Invasive exotic pest plants in Tennessee, [Online]. Athens, GA: University of Georgia; Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.se-eppc.org/states/TN/TNIList.html [2004, February 12]. [46747]
  • 30. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2003. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council invasive plant manual, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/eppc/index.html [2005, August 10]. [54193]
  • 34. Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. 2002. Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service. 82 p. Available online: http://www.invasive.org/eastern/midatlantic/index.html [2005, September 9]. [54192]
  • 37. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Eastern Region. 2004. Eastern Region invasive plants ranked by degree of invasiveness, [Online]. In: Noxious weeds and non-native invasive plants. Section 3: Invasive plants. Milwaukee, WI: Eastern Region (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/wildlife/range/weed/Sec3B.htm [2004, February 16]. [46748]

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Prevention and Control

For small infestations, cut vines to relieve trees of the weight and girdling; treat cut stems with a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate or triclopyr; new plants will grow from seed; long term management is needed.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

As of 2009, there was very little information on the importance of wisteria to wildlife or livestock.

Palatability and/or nutritional value: A number of reviews list wisteria flowers, leaves, fruits, and seeds as poisonous [3], and one further indicates that seed ingestion causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea [17]. Japanese wisteria was listed as a minor winter plant food for bobwhite quail in Alabama [31], and hummingbirds have been observed feeding on the nectar of Chinese wisteria [25].

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

  • 25. Pickens, A.L. 1931. Some flowers visited by birds. The Condor. 33(1): 23-28. [72445]
  • 3. Austin, Daniel F. 1999. Ethnobotany of Florida's weedy vines. In: Jones, David T.; Gamble, Brandon W., eds. Florida's garden of good and evil: Proceedings of the 1998 joint symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant Society; 1998 June 3-7; Palm Beach Gardens, FL. West Palm Beach, FL: South Florida Water Management District: 171-179. [54024]
  • 31. Speake, Dan W. 1967. Effects of controlled burning on bobwhite quail populations and habitat of an experimental area in the Alabama piedmont. Proceedings, Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commission. 20: 19-32. [14649]
  • 17. Martin, Tunyalee. 2002. Weed notes Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria. The Nature Conservancy. Available: http://tncinvasives.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf [1-29-2009]. [72841]

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Other uses and values

One review describes uses for lectins and resins derived from Chinese wisteria [3].
  • 3. Austin, Daniel F. 1999. Ethnobotany of Florida's weedy vines. In: Jones, David T.; Gamble, Brandon W., eds. Florida's garden of good and evil: Proceedings of the 1998 joint symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant Society; 1998 June 3-7; Palm Beach Gardens, FL. West Palm Beach, FL: South Florida Water Management District: 171-179. [54024]

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Risks

Ecological Threat in the United States

The hard woody vines of Japanese wisteria twine tightly around host tree trunks and branches and cut through the host tree bark, eventually girdling and killing it. On the ground, new vines germinating from seed or sprouting from rootstocks form dense thickets that smother and shade out native vegetation and impede natural plant community development. As girdled trees die, canopy gaps are created which increase the amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor. While this may temporarily favor some native species, it also stimulates vigorous growth and spread of wisteria.

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Ecological Threat in the United States

The hard woody vines twine tightly around host tree trunks and branches and cut through bark, causing death by girdling. On the ground, new vines germinating from seed or sprouting from rootstocks form dense thickets that smother and shade out native vegetation and impede natural plant community development. As girdled trees die, canopy gaps are created which increase the amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor. While this may temporarily favor some native species, it also stimulates vigorous growth and further spread of wisteria.

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Wikipedia

Wisteria floribunda

W. floribunda growing in Longwood Gardens

Wisteria floribunda (common name Japanese wisteria) is a species of flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae, native to Japan. Growing to 9 m (30 ft), it is a woody, deciduous twining climber. It was brought from Japan to the United States in 1830's.[1][2] Since then, it has become one of the most highly romanticized flowering garden plants. It is also a common subject for bonsai, along with Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria).

The flowering habit of Japanese wisteria is perhaps the most spectacular of the Wisteria family. It sports the longest flower racemes of any wisteria; they can reach nearly half a meter in length. These racemes burst into great trails of clustered white, pink, violet, or blue flowers in early- to mid-spring. The flowers carry a distinctive fragrance similar to that of grapes. The early flowering time of Japanese wisteria can cause problems in temperate climates, where early frosts can destroy the coming years' flowers. It will also flower only after passing from juvenile to adult stage, a transition that may take many frustrating years just like its cousin Chinese Wisteria.

Japanese wisteria can grow over 30m long over many supports via powerful clockwise-twining stems. The foliage consists of shiny, dark-green, pinnately compound leaves 10–30 cm in length. The leaves bear 9-13 oblong leaflets that are each 2–6 cm long. It also bears numerous poisonous, brown, velvety, bean-like seed pods 5–10 cm long that mature in summer and persist until winter. Japanese wisteria prefers moist soils and full sun in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9.[3] The plant often lives over fifty years.

W. floribunda cultivars[edit]

Those marked agm have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

  1. 'Shiro Noda', 'Snow Showers' or 'Longissima Alba' agm[4] - long white flower clusters
  2. 'Kuchibeni' or 'Carnea' - pink flowers
  3. 'Honbeni' or 'Rosea'agm[5] - pale rose flowers tipped purple, 18 inches long
  4. 'Issai Perfect' - light lavender flowers
  5. 'Jako' or 'Ivory Tower'
  6. 'Lawrence' - blue flowers, hardy cultivar
  7. 'Macrobotrys' or 'Longissima' - reddish-violet flower clusters one meter or longer
  8. 'Macrobotrys Cascade' - white and pinkish-purple flowers, vigorous grower
  9. 'Multijuga'agm[6] - violet flowers with darker markings
  10. 'Nana Richins Purple' - purple flowers
  11. 'Nishiki' - variegated foliage
  12. 'Plena' or 'Violaceae Plena' - double blue flowers in dense clusters
  13. 'Praecox' or 'Domino' - purple flowers
  14. 'Purpurea' - unknown - May be Wisteria sinensis consequa which is sometimes labeled purpurea
  15. 'Royal Purple' - purple flowers
  16. 'Rubra'- unknown - may be Honbeni - sometimes labeled as Rubrum - deep pink to red flowers
  17. 'Texas Purple' - may be a sinensis or a hybrid, short racemes, purple flowers, produced while the plant is still young
  18. 'Violacea Plena' - double violet flowers, rosette-shaped
  19. 'White with Blue Eye' - also known as Sekines Blue - very fragrant
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The genus name for wisteria is Wisteria Nutt. (Fabaceae). This
review summarizes information on the following wisteria species:

Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC., Japanese wisteria [13,28]

Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC., Chinese wisteria [1,13,28,47]

In this review, species are referred to by their common names, and "wisteria" refers to
both species.

Hybrids: In the southeastern United States, the majority of wisteria plants growing outside of cultivation were hybrids of Chinese and Japanese wisteria [35,36].
  • 35. Trusty, J. L.; Lockaby, B. G.; Zipperer, W. C.; Goertzen, L. R. 2007. Identity of naturalised exotic Wisteria (Fabaceae) in the south-eastern United States. Weed Research. 47: 479-487. [70352]
  • 36. Trusty, Jennifer L.; Goertzen, Leslie R.; Zipperer, Wayne C.; Lockaby, B-Graeme. 2007. Invasive Wisteria in the southeastern United States: genetic diversity, hybridization, and the role of urban centers. Urban Ecosystems. 10(4): 379-395. [72451]
  • 13. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]
  • 1. Ali, S. I.; Qaiser, M. 2001. Flora of Pakistan, [Online]. In: Karachi, Pakistan: University of Karachi; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_infor.aspx?flora_id=5 [2009, February 26]. [73152]
  • 28. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 2009. Flora Europaea, [Online]. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Producer). Available: http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/FE/fe.html. [41088]
  • 47. Yatskievych, George. 1999. Flora of Missouri, [Online]. In: St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden (Producer). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_infor.aspx?flora_id=11 [2009, February 26]. [73153]

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Synonyms

for Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC.:

Rehsonia floribunda (Willd.) Stritch [24]

for Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC.:

Rehsonia sinensis (Sims) Stritch [24]
  • 24. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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Common Names

Japanese wisteria

Chinese wisteria

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