The plant was named after Dr. Caspar Wistar. The first species known was our native wisteria frutescens, which was placed by Linnaeus in the genus glycine, from which on account of marked differences it was removed by Nuttall (1818) and placed in a new genus, dedicated to Prof. Caspar Wistar. But due to an spelling mistake it became famous as wisteria but botanist in many nursery catalogs and still refer to it as “Wistaria” with and “a”, so wisteria with an “e” and wistaria with an “a” both are same.
Wisteria, a genus of woody climbers of the family leguminosce.Tall climbing deciduous shrubs with imparipinnate leaves and terminal pendulous racemes of bluish flowers. The two upper teeth of the calyx short and subconnate, the inferior longer. Standard large. Stamens diadelphous, or the vexillary united with the others at the middle. Pod elongated, twisted; valves scarcely coriaceous, dehiscent; seeds reniform, estro-phiolate. About four or five species are known, one from North America and the rest from China and Japan. Though generally allowed to climb, the wistarias/wisterias may be grown in the form of a pillar or a small tree by training the stems to a stake and properly pinching the growing shoots. The native species may be raised from seeds; the others are multiplied by layering, from cuttings, and the rare varieties by grafting upon the native.
Wisteria species :
Wisteria brachybotrys :
A more erect shrub with slender sar-mentose branches and ovate or cordate leaflets, silvery when young. The flowers are larger and of purplr or violet, in closer shorter racemes than in the above species, and they are produced in Spring with the leaves. A native of Japan.
Wisteria Sinensis or Wisteria consequana :
The Chinese wistaria/wisteria a favorite in China and Japan, was introduced into England in 1816; it grows more rapidly than the native, and blooms much earlier; the flowers appear when the leaves are but partially developed, and are in longer, looser, more conical clusters than the preceding, and of a paler lilac color. It is largely planted in New York and other cities, where it climbs to the eaves of the tallest houses. Nothing can exceed the beauty of this magnificent climbing shrub when in full flower, towards the end of April or in the beginning of May, before the leaves are fully developed. This is the only species common in gardens, and by far the handsomest known. In the South of England it attains great perfection on a trellis or pillar, but in the North it requires the protection of a wall. There is a white-flowered variety, but the ordinary purplish-lilac one is the better of the two.
Wisteria frutescens :
It is also called as American wisteria. More than a hundred years before the introduction of the Chinese, Europe possessed the North American Glycina, now called Wistaria Frutescens. However, as frequently happens in such cases, the new comer has supplanted its predecessor, which it surpasses in the great development of its stems, in the astonishing profusion of its flowers, and in the size of its azure-colored clusters. To these advantages of its rival, the United States species can boast on its side of flowering on branches previously supplied with leaves, as well as of exhaling in the autumn an agreeable perfume. In other respects the resemblance is seen in the harmony of the general appearance, in the graceful drooping of the clusters, which are of a rich violet color. This is, perhaps, hardier than the preceding, but, although introduced many years previous to that, it is still far less generally cultivated, on account of its inferiority as an ornamental plant. It is altogether a smaller species, with darker flowers of a violet tinge; but as it does not blossom till Autumn, both should be grown where there is space.
A variety called magnifica exceeds the old form in beauty. A native of North America.This tint is succeeded in the variety magnifica by a lilac color, with a metallic sulphur-colored spot. Its clusters, instead of being pendent, grow horizontally; the flowers, instead of being far apart, are very compact in the clusters, much more so than the picture represents them. This variety has the great advantage of flowering profusely, whilst the other hardly shows its flowers. Its blooming anticipates also that of the type, it being in flower towards the end of June.
Wisteria multijuga :
It is a native of Japan, of quite recent introduction, from Japan, it has lilac-coloured flowers in racemes often over 2 ft. long and very long, slender, loose-flowered, branching clusters
How to plant Wisteria :
The Wisteria delights in a light and rich soil, and, if given this, will produce branches sometimes a hundred feet in length on each side of the main stem, giving gorgeous masses of bloom in the early Spring.
The Wisteria forms great bundles of small growths which often become matted under the eaves of buildings or about the stems of old trees. Where they grow freely, these matted growths should, in Winter, or before growth commences in early Spring, be carefully disentangled and all of the weaker growths should be pruned back to a strong spur or bud, the remaining branches being laid in and fastened by ties to the wall or other support, not closer together, however, than twelve inches.
Propagation of the Wistaria/Wisteria is effected most easily by seeds sown during early Spring, one-half of an inch deep, in a warm frame or greenhouse, or by layering in June.
Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria multijuga, which are raised by grafting pieces of dormant stem in pieces of root plunged in bottom heat.