categoryZClimbers Climbers List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 

CHINESE WISTERIA

Wisteria sinensis

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june

category
category8Climbers
category
category8Deciduous
status
statusZalien
flower
flower8multicolour
flower
flower8azure
inner
inner8mauve
inner
inner8indigo
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZpanicle
stem
stem8round

28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
A climber rooting from the ground most usually planted, either as a tree or against a wall or trellis upon which it can clamber.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The main feeding trunks go up from the ground with flowers hanging down in panicles like llianas.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaves opposite, pinnate, lightish-green bronzing slightly and lanceolate with terminal leaflet.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
From planting it takes five years before any flowers appear. Pea-type flowers hang down in trusses.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The trusses of flowers from below looking skywards.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
A single truss from below. Flowers on straight stalks arranged line spokes on a wheel all the way up the truss.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are of the Pea-type, with a single large off-white banner at the top, two smaller mauve wings, and hidden those within two smaller blue/indigo keels.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
At the bottom un-opened flower display their indigo-coloured bracts.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The wings are rarely visible, less so the stamens within.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The large banner has faint radiating stripes, and a yellowish region near the centre. Keels just visible between the two mauve wings.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The thin white stamens with their cream-coloured pollen are peeking through between the two keels (which are between the two wings).


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaves pinnate, opposide. Individual leaflets have a satin sheen, angled veins, and are lanceolate with only a short stem.


28th April 2011, Castlefields, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaflets lanceolate, veins visible.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

A climbing garden plant up to 9m high with lavender/mauve flowers hanging down in trusses. It is also available in many differing varieties with differing colour schemes. Naturalised in only one hectad in the UK, much more likely to be found growing (twining clockwise) up the walls of a large house. Being a climber it requires a wall of trellis up which to climb. Sometimes planted under an existing tree such that it can clamber up and flowers droop down from the tree as if they were its own. It will only start flowering several years after planting. The flowers appear before the leaves in early summer, the foliage only appearing when the flowers are nearly finished.

It is said that all parts of this plant contain the toxic glycosidic steroidal compound (or saponin) called wisterin, especially the seeds, consumption of just two or three of which can be fatal to children. It is a laxative. Symptoms are severe discomfort, nausea and vomiting, but it can be used as a diuretic in the treatment of some heart problems. Wisterin should not be confused with another totally un-related compound with the same name of 'Wisterin' and which is produced by a marine sponge. Your Author has been un-able to find with any degree of confidence the true chemical structural formula of the Wisterin within wisteria.

It also contains a one or several compounds from a family of long-chain amino acid polypeptides/proteins called Cystatins, which are too complex to show here, but which are Cystein protease inhibitors, and therefore poisonous. They interact with other chemical workings of the body, putting various spanners in the works. One Cystatin is in the venom produced by the Puff Adder.

In the USA it is classed as a fast-growing unwanted weed having a large ecological threat. It shades out competing plants and also twines around eventually encircling them. Trees thus encircled die as they try in vain to grow in girth. On the ground new sprouts shoot up from seeds or rootstock, by which means it spreads rapidly. In the UK, Wisteria seems well behaved but a changing climate may alter this ~

BENZOPYRAN β-CHROMENES


The above two benzopyrans are β-chromenes (not to be confused with chromanones nor with chromones which are based on 1,4-benzopyrone), both found in Wisteria sinensis. They are both aromatic and contribute to the floral odour of Wisteria, as well as Phenylacetoin (3-hydroxy-4-phenyl-2-butanone) shown below which is not a β-chromene.


  Wisteria sinensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Wisteria
Wisteria
(Wisterias)

CHINESE WISTERIA

Wisteria sinensis

Pea Family [Fabaceae]