Wow Those Wisterias!

April 18, 2011 / Local Interest
As I was walking along Sant’Agata’s sunny ‘panoramica’ and basking in the delicious warmth of the longer days, I marveled at the explosion of greens, yellows, whites and pinks coursing through the countryside that, until a week ago, had seemed dead to the world.

I rounded the homeward bend, and while keeping an eye on my dog, who was furiously pouncing on the grass in the hopes of arousing a lizard, I was blown away by a vision of grace and beauty that embellishes so many Italian villas, walls, balconies, pergolas, terraces, banisters and rails and that more than anything embodies the promise of Spring: the wisterias in bloom.

Introduced into Europe in 1816 and Italy in1840, the plant originally comes from the Orient where it is known as the ‘blue vine’. There are many varieties of wisteria ranging from white to yellow and even red, but the one commonly seen in Italy sports abundant flowers in a mixture of lilac and lavender. The plant can reach a height of 40 meters and if well-supported, can grow to a length of 80 meters!

The Italian name, glicine, comes from the same Greek word which means ‘sweet plant’. (Introduced into America in the 1700’s the ‘wisteria’ was named after the German anthropologist Kaspar Wistar)

Like all the best things in life, the wisteria’s bloom is over much to soon, but fortunately it flourishes again in June and July and its lush, green leaves provide welcome relief from the unforgiving August sun.

All the facts about wisteria were found at the Wisteria website.

Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”,, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

19 Responses to “Wow Those Wisterias!”

  1. Absolutely beautiful! So many thanks for the breath of spring, and the lovely pics.

  2. vanna moore

    they are gorgeous. I love glicine, they remind me of my childhood, a villa next to our house was filled with them!

  3. Robert Lemon

    Please include the dateline, such _______, Italy. Otherwise,
    the piece was delightful.

  4. vanna moore

    so gorgeous! I love ” glicine “. They remind me of my childhood! A villa next to our house was filled with them! Thanks!

  5. Lyn Beckenham

    Lovely – and beautifully described in expressing that fabulous feeling as Europe or Italy awakens from the winter. I can feel the joy having been there to experience my first European Spring only last year. Oh, how I miss it right now!

  6. rj moriconi

    great articles and pics — every day
    better editing needed: “the wisteria’s bloom is over much to soon”; it is not to soon, but TOO soon

  7. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thank you for bringing these gorgeous blooms to our computer screens.

  8. William Strangio

    My favorite is the wisteria that comes through a elevated retaining wall adjacent to the Cartusian Monistery in Capri’s upper village!!.
    It stretches for about 100 feet and trhe root is probably 15 inches in diameter!

  9. Robert Yates

    The genus Wisteria was named after Casper Wistar (sic), Professor of Anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. There are two species – W. frutescens and W. macrostachya native to N. America but not frequently grown as ornamental plants.
    The two species very widely grown in gardens are W. sinensis from China and W. floribunda from Japan. These two species are closely related. W. sinensis has been grown as an ornamental in China for a great many years but was brought back to England on the initiative of John Reeves, Chief Inspector of Taxes for the East India Company in China, and arrived in May 1816.
    W. floribunda was introduced into Holland by von Siebold in 1834 and introduced from Holland to the UK in the 1870s

    W. floribunda and W. sinensis will interbreed which causes some botanist to query if they are really two separate species or merely two geographical races of the same species. The cross is commonly known as W. x formosa.

    The only other Wisteria species grown in gardens at all frequently is W. venusta from Japan.

  10. I”ve just returned from three weeks in the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside where I was able to watch the wisteria burst into bloom. What a treat!


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