wisteria wĭstēr´ēə [key] or wistaria –târ´– [key], any plant of the genus Wisteria, woody twining vines of the family Leguminosae ( pulse family), cultivated and highly esteemed for the beautiful pendent clusters of pealike flowers, lilac, white, or pink. There are two species ( W. frutescens and W. macrostachya ) native to the United States, found mostly in the Southeast, but the showier Asian species are the most commonly cultivated. One variety of the Japanese wisteria ( W. floribunda var. macrobotrys ) has flower clusters up to 3 ft (1 m) long. Wisteria is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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