Japanese Garden Plants
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|Japanese Name:||fuji |
|English Name:||Wisteria |
|Latin Name:||Wisteria floribunda, W. multijuga |
|Sub Type:||DECIDUOUS |
|Native Habitat:||mountainous areas, marsh, freshwater shore |
|Flower Color:|| |
|Bloom Time:||Apr-May |
|Last Updated:||8/27/2001 |
This aggressive climbing vine is an amazingly beautiful plant. It is widely distributed throughout the forests that cover the Japanese archipelago except Hokkaido, its vines twining clockwise around the trees that support it. Fragrant clusters of pea-shaped, pale mauve flowers hang from the trees like grapes in April and May, lending a blush of bluish-purple to the hillsides and forests where they grow. The pale green compound leaves have 13-19 ovate leaflets. The flowers open from top to bottom and in cultivation can grow as long as 1 - 2 m for some varieties.
Wysteria prefers moist ground and sprouts well after being pruned. In fact wisteria needs to be pruned to encourage the best blooms. One should be careful not to over-fertilize this plant as too much nitrogen will cause heavy leaf growth and fewer flower clusters. They should be in a rich, deep and well-drained site in full sun with lots of water in the early years. It can be propogated through grafting, cutting or seedling and will survive in North American zones 4-9. In the garden they are associated with pine or cypress, frequently being trained over a trellis to highlight the beauty of the hanging flowers. It is also occasionally used in bonsai material and the sprays of flowers attached to a branch are used in ikebana. Mike Yamakami points out that the English name is after Caspar Wistar (1761-1818) an anatomy professor at the University of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, where JGarden got its start 200 years later!).
Wysteria brachybotrys (yama-fuji) - a different species of short, clumped wysteria
Wysteria floribunda var. kyushaku-fuji (shirobana-fuji) - known for its huge clusters of flowers
Wysteria floribunda var. alba Baily (shirobana-fuji) - white flowers
Wysteria floribunda var. kuchi-beni - pinkish-white flowers
Wysteria floribunda var. alborosea Makino (akebono-fuji)
Wysteria floribunda var. rosea (akabana-fuji) - reddish flowers
Wysteria floribunda var. violaceo-plena Bailey (yae-fuji)
Wysteria floribunda var. Macrobotrys - large, mauve flowers
Wysteria sinensis - Chinese wysteria - a more aggressive, counter-clockwise climber, shorter leaves and fewer leaflets and small flower clusters in which the flowers all open simultaneously.
Wysteria x formosa - a hybrid of W. floribunda and W. sinensis
For further reference:
Japanese Garden Society of Oregon. Oriental Gardening. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996, p. 125.
Kitamura, Fumio and Ishizu Yurio. Garden Plants in Japan. Tokyo: Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai, 1963, p. 126.
Betty Richards and Anne Kaneko, Japanese Plants, Tokyo: Shufunotomo, 1988, p. 202-203.