Herb: Japanese Wisteria


Latin name: Wisteria floribunda


Synonyms: Glycine floribunda


Family: Leguminosae



Edible parts of Japanese Wisteria:

Seed - cooked. When baked in a fire they have much the same flavour as chestnuts. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity at the top of the page. Young leaves - cooked. The tender young leaves are sometimes eaten and are also used a a tea substitute. Flowers - cooked. Used as a food in parts of China.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Climber

Height:
8 m
(26 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July


Scent:
Scented
Climber

Habitat of the herb:

Damp habitats by streams etc in thickets and woods in hills and mountains in all areas of Japan south of Hokkaido.

Other uses of Japanese Wisteria:

The bark is used for making ropes and sandals. The branches can be used as cables and also for making bridges, for which purpose it is said to be very durable.

Propagation of the herb:

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. 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. Basal cuttings of side-shoots in early to mid summer in a frame. Take the cuttings as soon as the new growth has hardened sufficiently, each cutting should have 2 - 3 leaves. 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. When kept in a mist frame with a bottom heat of 27 - 30C, they will root within 4 weeks and produce well-established plants by the autumn. 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.

Cultivation of Japanese Wisteria:

Damp habitats by streams etc in thickets and woods in hills and mountains in all areas of Japan south of Hokkaido.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Wisteria floribunda:

The seed of all members of this genus is poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.