Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wisteria sinensis

Growing up in the midwest was a wonderful thing, but I realize now that it was not without its drawbacks. 34 years without ever meeting a wisteria, for instance.

See what I mean? I'm completely bowled over by these guys.

And I'm not the only one. A friend here naively planted two wisteria vines alongside her garden trellis a few years ago. Now she has a big wisteria heap, and no trellis. The wisteria crushed it. Wisteria have been known to pull down fences and posts, pry up shingles, collapse roofs, and even lift a house off its foundations.

The house above is on the market - wonder why?

Folks around the corner have chosen a safer path and planted their wisteria far away from everything, in the middle of their gargantuan yard. Pretty, huh?

But these guys must be gamblers...

The wisteria is related to the pea, although its seeds resemble beans. It is said to have been brought to Europe from Asia by none other than Marco Polo. The wisteria figures prominently in traditional Japanese kabuki dance. The world's largest flowering plant is a 250-ton, 500-ft wisteria vine in Sierra Madre, CA. Just like the wisteria in my neighborhood, the record holder is said to flower most vigorously when a cold winter is followed by an unusually warm spring.

Hoo boy!

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