FAMILY: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)—the Bean (Legume) Family (see Crotalaria)
PHENOLOGY: Most wisteria plants flower from April through May; Japanese wisteria blossoms through June.
DISTRIBUTION: Wisteria is commonly used as an ornamental twining shrub near homes and patios or as a specimen plant on lawns. Several species are native to North America, occurring at borders of wooded swamps and banks of streams onto rich woods. Two species have been introduced from eastern Asia.
PLANT CHARACTERISTICS: Wisteria flowers have the 2 upper calyx-lobes short or completely fused, with the lowest one often elongate. The standard is reflexed, with two basal hardened flowers: purple (blue) or white in grapelike clusters at the end of short branches, appearing before the leaves are fully expanded; seed pods: flattened, woody, often covered with velvety hairs; seeds: resembling large lima beans; plants: woody, twining shrubs or vines with odd-pinnate leaves.
POISONOUS PARTS: The seeds and seed pods are toxic.
SYMPTOMS: Toxicosis involves digestive disturbances' stomach and intestinal irritation' repeated vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and collapse.
POISONOUS PRINCIPLES: The toxins are unidentified.
CONFUSED TAXA: Wisterias are woody plants with compound leaves, In W. frutescens (L ) Poir and W macrostachya Nutt., the leaflets number 9-l5 Wisteria sinensis (Sims) Sweet (Chinese wisteria) usually has 11 1eaflets. Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) (DC Japanese wisteria) has I5-19 leaflets. No woody vines other than members of this genus produce the combination of grapelike clusters of flowers and velvety seed pods.
SPECIES OF ANIMALS AFFECTED: Children are poisoned from eating the lima beanlike fruit. One or two seeds can cause serious illness.
TREATMENT: (11)(b); (26).