Herb: Silky Wisteria

Latin name: Wisteria venusta

Synonyms: Wisteria brachybotrys

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Silky Wisteria:

Galls that develop on the plant as a result of infection by the bacterium Erwinia milletiae are used in Japanese folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. Recent research has shown that substances in these galls can be used in the treatment of gastric cancer and can also inhibit kin tumour promotion by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Description of the plant:


10 m
(33 feet)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Clambering over cliffs and trees on woodland edges in mountains and hills.

Edible parts of Silky Wisteria:

Seed - cooked. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at the top of the page. Young leaves - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre obtained from the bark is used for making cloth and thread.

Propagation of Silky Wisteria:

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 the herb:

Clambering over cliffs and trees on woodland edges in mountains and hills.

Known hazards of Wisteria venusta:

The seed of all members of this genus is poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.