Invasive Species: Wisteria sinensis, Chinese Wisteria
Chinese wisteria is an invasive deciduous woody vine capable of growing to a height of 40 ft. (12.2 m). Stems can be up to 10 in. (25.4 cm) in diameter, with smooth, gray-brown bark. Chinese wisteria twines around its host plant in a clockwise direction. Alternate, pinnately compound leaves (7 to 13 leaflets) are tapered at the tip and have wavy edges. Leaflets are approximately 3 in. (7.6 cm) long. Lavender, purple, or white flowers are fragrant, showy, and abundant and occur in long, dangling clusters in the spring. Seeds are contained in flattened, hairy, bean-like pods that are 6 in. (15.2 cm) long. Invasions often occur around previous plantings. Chinese wisteria can displace native vegetation and kill trees and shrubs by girdling them. The vine can change the structure of a forest by killing trees and altering the light availability to the forest floor. A native of China, it was introduced in the United States in 1816 for ornamental purposes.
What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them?
Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species
Fabales > Fabaceae > Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC.
Wisteria sinensis – USDA PLANTS Profile
Chinese wisteria – The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)
Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important
Reporting This Invasive Species
What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species?
How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS – Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System
EDDMapS – Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.
County Extension Offices – Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.
How to Identify
This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.
Chinese wisteria is a deciduous woody vine capable of growing to a height of 40 ft. (12.2 m). Stems can be up to 10 in. (25.4 cm) in diameter, with smooth, gray-brown bark.
|Randy Westbrooks, U.S. Geological Survey, bugwood.org||Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org|
Alternate, pinnately compound leaves (7 to 13 leaflets) are tapered at the tip and have wavy edges. Leaflets are approximately 3 in. (7.6 cm) long.
|James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org||Nancy Fraley, USDI National Park Service, bugwood.org|
Lavender, purple, or white flowers are fragrant, showy, and abundant and occur in long, dangling clusters in the spring.
|James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, bugwood.org||David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, bugwood.org|
Seeds are contained in flattened, hairy, bean-like pods that are 6 in. (15.2 cm) long.
|Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org||Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, bugwood.org|
Native Wisteria Species Resemble Chinese Wisteria
Wisteria frutescens, American wisteria – Images at invasive.org
|Gena Todia, Wetland Resources Environmental Consulting, bugwood.org||Gena Todia, Wetland Resources Environmental Consulting, bugwood.org|
Additional Images for Chinese Wisteria
Chinese wisteria – Images at invasive.org
Learning Resources for Chinese Wisteria
Wisteria sinensis Identification Card – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wisteria sinensis Fact Sheet – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources
Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state’s land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals in the control process, always refer to the product label .
United States Land Grant University System – Find your Land Grant University’s College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.
Fact Sheet – Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests – USDA Forest Service
A Management Guide for Invasive Plants of Southern Forests – USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas – National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Florida National Forests Invasive Plant Series – USDA Forest Service
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas – Plant Conservation Alliance
Weed of the Week – USDA Forest Service
Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida – University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants