Today’s photograph is of the blossoming wisteria in the backyard. Luckily I backed up quickly before taking this picture–as there as a wasp climbing around on the flowers just a few moments ago. I’m not scared (or allergic) to them–but I also don’t want to irritate them. Now back to the flowers.
The name wisteria encompasses a genus of flowering plants that are actually members of the legume family—Fabaceae.
This genus of plants expands by twining their stems around available support—other plants, power lines, fences, and so forth. While the main stem can provide initial support, as the plant grows, its limbs start twining around sturdy non-moving objects in the immediate vicinity.
Other interesting facts about wisterias:
Flowering can be either from early spring (for some Asian species) to mid to late summer for some of the American species.
The seeds that are produced in the late fall, are in pods—but like numerous plants are poisonous to those who ingest them.
They can grow in poor quality soil, but will take off in fertile, moist, well-drained soils. The best areas of the yard are those that can get full sun at least part of the day.
They don’t need extra nitrogen added to the soil, due to their symbiotic relationships with bacteria in their roots (they house nitrogen fixing bacteria in nodules in their roots). The bacteria get a “safe” place to live, and the plant gets some extra nutrients from what the bacteria generates.
Depending on how the plant was grown (seed, taken as a cutting, or grafted) will also impact on how long it will take for the plant to reach maturity for flowering; this can be anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades.