Chinese Wisteria – Wisteria sinensis

Chinese Wisteria
Chinese Wisteria

All I have been is pollen dusted,
oh the wisteria sweet
kissing deep,
till I feel the promise of fertile,
drooping fat on a vine
petals that promise nothing,
but hint at all.

By Lisa Shields

This pretty vine from Southeast Asia has an intoxicating scent, get close enough and you will feel it, not just smell it! It can be invasive and is listed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Councils List of Invasive Species! Due to resin and a glycoside (called wisterin) present in the seeds, seedpods, and the bark it can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The symptoms can appear up to 24 hours after ingestion, and include nausea, abdominal pain, and repeated vomiting.

Wisteria was introduced to the United States from Japan and China in the 1800s. The largest one is in the Sierra Madre’s covering more than an acre, and estimated at weighing 250 tons!!

Although the seed is toxic it can be used as a diuretic when used in the treatment of heart ailments. The flowers can be eaten and have been ‘cured’ in sugar then mixed with flour. This then is made into a famous delicacy in China. The leaves may be used as a tea substitute.

A buff colored paper can be made from the fibers in the vine.

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