We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Wisteria sinensis - (Sims.)DC.

Common Name Chinese Wisteria
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The seed of all members of this genus is poisonous[200]. The bark contains a glycoside and a resin that are both poisonous[218]. The seed and seedpod contains a resin and a glycoside called wisterin. They have caused poisoning in children of many countries, producing mild to severe gastro-enteritis[249].
Habitats Clambering over cliffs and trees on woodland edges at low altitudes in W. China[109].
Range E. Asia - China. Locally naturalized in Europe in France[50].
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Wisteria sinensis Chinese Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis Chinese Wisteria


Translate this page:


Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Purple, White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Wisteria sinensis is a deciduous Climber growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Glycine sinensis. Millettia chinensis. Rehsonia sinensis. Wisteria chinensis. Wisteria praecox

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Seed
Edible Uses: Tea

Seed - cooked[105, 177, 183]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at the top of the page. Flowers - cooked. They are thoroughly washed and then boiled or made into fritters[105, 177, 179, 183]. The flowers are also cured in sugar then mixed with flour and made into a famous local delicacy called 'Teng Lo'[249]. The leaves contain allantoic acid[218]. They are used as a tea substitute[218]. The young leaves have also been eaten[249].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cardiac  Diuretic

The seed is diuretic[178, 218]. It is used in the treatment of heart ailments[178, 218]. One report says that the stems and flowers are also used in Chinese medicine, but gives no more information[249].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses


A fibre from the stems can be used to make paper, the fibre is about 1.3 - 3.7mm long[189]. Stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed until the fibre can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is a buff colour[189]. Nitrogen Fixer.

Special Uses

Espalier  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Arbor, Espalier, Pollard, Standard. Prefers a good loamy soil in a sunny south or south-west facing position, sheltered from cold winds and from early morning sun on frosty mornings[11, 200]. Succeeds in partial shade. Plants can become chlorotic on alkaline soils[200]. A soil that is too rich results in excessive foliage at the expense of flowering[200]. Hardy to about -15°c[184, 200]. Plants can take a few years to settle down after planting out[219]. Too much shade or too rich a soil are normally the culprits, some form of root restriction can be beneficial[219]. There are several named forms selected for their ornamental value[188]. Sparrows and other birds frequently eat the young buds of this plant and this is the commonest cause of poor flowering on established plants[184]. Plants sometimes have a second season of flowering in August[219]. The plants flower mainly on short spurs so, if removing unwanted side-branches, it is best to cut them back to 2 - 3 leaves rather than removing them completely since this will encourage the formation of flowering spurs[249]. Any drastic pruning is best carried out in the spring, immediately after flowering[249]. Plants are very tolerant of even the most drastic pruning and will re-grow even if cut right back to the base[249]. A climbing plant supporting itself by twining around other plants, the shoots twine in an anticlockwise direction[182]. Very tolerant of pruning, plants can regenerate from old wood[202]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Closely related to W. floribunda[126]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. The plants also form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus which makes more water, phosphorus and other minerals available to the plants[249]. Special Features:Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

The seed does not exhibit any dormancy habits. It can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame and should germinate in the spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seedbed in late spring[126]. Germination should take place in the first spring, though it can sometimes be delayed for another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Plants are very slow from seed and can take up to 20 years to come into flower[200]. Basal cuttings of side-shoots in early to mid summer in a frame[200]. Take the cuttings as soon as the new growth has hardened sufficiently, each cutting should have 2 - 3 leaves[249]. It can also help to remove a shallow slice of bark from the bottom 15mm of the cutting to expose extra cambium, since this will encourage more callusing and better rooting[249]. When kept in a mist frame with a bottom heat of 27 - 30°c, they will root within 4 weeks and produce well-established plants by the autumn[249]. Layering in spring. Simply lay any convenient long shoot along the ground and cover it with a shallow layer of soil. The shoot will readily produce roots at intervals along the stem. When these are well formed, the shoot can be divided up into a number of plants. These should be potted up and kept in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until well established and can then be planted out as required. Division of suckers in the winter[249]. If growing named varieties, it is of course necessary to ensure they are growing on their own roots if the suckers are to be true to type[249].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

TEMPERATE ASIA: China (Henan Sheng, Hebei Sheng, Hubei Sheng, Guizhou Sheng, Shaanxi Sheng, Yunnan Sheng, Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Wisteria floribundaJapanese WisteriaClimber8.0 5-9 MLMHNM202
Wisteria frutescensAmerican WisteriaClimber12.0 4-8  LMHNM103
Wisteria japonica Climber0.0 7-10  LMHNM10 
Wisteria venustaSilky WisteriaClimber10.0 4-8  LMHNM121
Wisteria villosa Climber0.0 -  LMHNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Linda Bruce   Mon May 23 22:46:42 2005

I have a fugus growing on the main trucks of my wisteria. The snails and ants are enjoying it. The growth is spreading, I am not sure what kind of fugus and what can I use to stop it, Thanks Linda

Jerry White   Mon Jan 16 2006

I would like to know how to kill the roots of wisteria. thanks

[email protected]   Thu Mar 23 2006

How do you replant an established wisteria it is 20ft high and flowers brilliantly. insurers want us to remove it can you replant them successfuly please advise

derek aldrich   Sat Sep 8 2007

I want to kill the roots off completly. Will be Block paved over where the plant has grown before.

Kevin   Fri May 9 2008

I have read that wisteria DO NOT replant successfully after becoming established because of the coarse root system. Also, my neighbors had a wisteria and they had to spray industrial weed killer on the roots and really mangle the main trunk and other roots so that whatever you leave behind can absorb the poisons from a weed killer. Another nit of info-most kinds of fungicide can kill fungus or molds but physan20 is an all around fungicide, bactericide, algicide, viricide. Use that at dilute strength and the fungus should dry up in a day or 2. You can order physan20 online -just go to google and search for physan20- hope this helps all of you out.

laura   Thu Oct 8 2009

ok so you have shown us how to propagate it but how do we care for it? do we need to mulch it? or prune it? or even weed it? please i need help please some one reply as soon as possible!!!!! its an emergancy!!!!

   Apr 24 2015 12:00AM

I tried roasting some seeds of Wisteria sinensis and tasted & chewed them (without swallowing to be on the safe side, given known toxicity of raw seed & rarity & brevity of reports they are edible cooked). At 200 C for 10 munutes they were very hard, fragments really too sharp to want to swallow with little taste. Baked longer at 200C they burnt. I also baked them at 100 C for 1 & 1/2 hr, still too hard but did have more flavor, breadish maybe, not brilliant. The sole detailed description of Wisteria being edible baked seems to date from 1908 (Flowers and Gardens of Japan, Du Cane) stating they taste like chestnuts when baked in a fire, perhaps there's an art to that, perhaps she was talking about another Wisteria, perhaps the Japanese were having her on. However boiled for 30 min they were more promising, firm but easy to chew, without a lot of flavor but inoffensive, looking & maybe tasting like a giant lentil. Again I still didn't swallow for fear of toxicity, obviously experimentation not recommended with existing knowledge. - Cheers, David Nicholls, New Zealand

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Wisteria sinensis  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.