Pretty well up there as my favourite flower is the Wisteria. The only down side is its short show – one week and it is all over. That is, unless you have lots of varieties and two locations. Perth is much warmer than Bridgetown so Wisteria flower earlier in Perth and Kuchibeni is an early bloomer. We have Kuchibeni growing across our house in Perth and, for the last week, it has been spectacular. Next week, when we go back, it will be all over.
For those who don’t know, there are, at least, three species of Wisteria: American, Japanese and Chinese.
Japanese Wisteria are known as Wisteria Floribunda, Chinese Wisteria as Wisteria Sinensis and American Wisteria as Wisteria Frutescens and Wisteria Macrostachya.
The easiest way to tell Floribunda and Sinensis apart is Wisteria Floribunda twine clockwise and Wisteria Sinensis twine anti-clockwise. I don’t know what the American Wisteria do.
Wisteria Floribunda Kuchibeni, our star today, is a pale pink Japanese Wisteria. It is also known as Carnea and Lipstick. It has pale mauve- pink flowers on long racemes. It is sweetly scented with good autumn foliage.
Peter Valder, in his wonderful book, Wisterias A Comprehensive Guide, describes it more fully, as follows:
‘The leaves have 9 – 15 leaflets, pale green when young. It is among the earliest to bloom, the racemes being 36 – 45 cm long with 76 – 86 flowers; scent moderate; floral bracts tinged with purple; pedicels 1.5 – 2.5 cm, pale green, sometimes tinged purple towards their ends; calyx pale greyish purple; standard pale mauve – pink, 1.8 – 2.0 cm broad, conspicuously pubescent at the top inside and around the claw outside, sometimes with a few hairs extending up the mid – line; wings and keel a similar colour but purple at their tips. The pods are 9.0 – 21.5 cm long with 1 – 5 seeds, tan finely spotted with black. The autumn colour is good clear yellow.’