Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Wisteria frutescens (L.) Poir.
- Family: Pea (Fabaceae)
- Flowering: April-June
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 9 or
more leaflets, and by its dense racemes of purple flowers.
- Habitat: Along streams, wet woods, wet thickets, floodplains, bayous.
- Habit: Woody vine, without tendrils, climbing high in trees.
- Stems: Woody, up to 4 inches in diameter, up to 40 feet long.
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound with 9-15 leaflets; leaflets ovate-lanceolate to ovate,
pointed at the tip, rounded at the base, without teeth, smooth on the upper surface, smooth or
sparsely hairy on the lower surface, up to 2 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Many, crowded into racemes up to 8 inches long, each flower up to 3/4 inch long.
- Sepals: 5, unequal in size, finely hairy, united below.
- Petals: Typically pea-shaped, pale purple.
- Stamens: 10, one of them free from the rest.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Pods narrowly oblong, pointed at the tip, smooth, usually constricted between the seeds,
up to 3 inches long; seeds brown, up to 2/5 inch long.
- Notes: This vine may become aggressive in the wild. It is often used as an ornamental.
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