Wisteria sinensis - (Sims) DC.
Chinese Wisteria
Other Common Names: Chinese wisteria
Synonym(s): Rehsonia sinensis (Sims) Stritch
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC. (TSN 27023)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.158689
Element Code: PDFAB45040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Wisteria
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Wisteria sinensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), West Virginia (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, ILexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MIexotic, MSexotic, NCexotic, NYexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WVexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: An aggressive woody vine that commonly invades disturbed areas but can also invade high-quality native species habitats. A problem plant in native plant communities throughout the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Hawaii.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Low
I-Rank Review Date: 28Dec2005
Evaluator: Lu, S., rev. Maybury (2005).
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to China and Japan (Remaley 1998).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Commonly found along forest edges, roadsides, ditches, and rights-of-way (Remaley 1998).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance
Comments: Climbing wisteria vines can increase sunlight to the forest floor by killing sizable trees and opening the forest canopy. (Swearingen et al. 2002).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Climbing wisteria vines can kill sizable trees, opening the forest canopy and increasing sunlight to the forest floor. (Swearingen et al. 2002).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Displaces native herbs, vines, shrubs, and trees through shading and girdling. Climbing wisteria vines can kill sizable trees, opening the forest canopy and increasing sunlight to the forest floor. (Swearingen et al. 2002). The death of large trees results in canopy gaps that favor further growth of wisteria (Martin, not dated). Can form thickets so dense that little else grows (Remaley 1998).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No disproportionate impacts reported.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Ideal habitat is full sun and wisteria is typically found in disturbed areas such as along forest edges, roadsides and other rights-of-way, and ditches (Remaley 1998). Wisteria has also been reported from riparian areas. In addition to these more open habitats, however, wisteria is known to persist and spread in low light conditions (Remaley 1998) and is said to "rapidly invaded the shady interior of a forest from a sunny forest edge" (Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources 2004).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Established in 23 states and DC, all in the eastern US except Texas. This includes Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachussetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia (Kartesz 1999). Also reported as a problem plant in Hawaii (University of Hawaii 1998).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High significance
Comments: Assumption that this is having at least some negative impacts in at least 50 percent of of the current range.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: In at least 35 ecoregions(Inference using data from Kartesz 1999 and TNC Ecoregion 2001 map).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Assumed at least 4 ecological systems given range in the U.S. and ability to invade riparian and forest habitats.

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Introduced to the US around 1816. (Remaley 1998). Grown extensively in the south and mid-Atlantic. (Swearingen et al. 2002).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Unknown

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Seeds can be carried great distances downstream in water (Swearingen et al. 2002). Widely planted by humans.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Unknown

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Established vines will persist and reproduce in partial shade (Remaley 1998) and the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources (2004) indicates that wisteria can rapidly invade shady forest interiors from forest edges by sending out ground-level vines that are supported by the parts of the plants growing in full sun. Presumably, the vines can then take advantage of small-scale canopy openings. The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council (not dated) indicates that both Wisteria floribunda and W. sinensis are both Rank 2 plants----those that are significant threats but do not spread as easily into native plant communites as those in Rank 1 (Rank 3 plants spread only in or near disturbed areas). Franklin (2005), however, considers W. sinensis a Rank 1 exotic in North Carolina, i.e., a plant that spreads readily into native plant communities, displacing native vegetation.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Unknown

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Vegetative reproduction is their primary means of expansion. Also spreads by seeds and seeds may be abundant if conditions are favorable. (Remaley 1998) Also spreads by producing aboveground stems called stolons that develop roots and shoots at short intervals (Swearingen et al. 2002). Will resprout after cutting until root stores are exhausted (Remaley 1998).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Cutting and systemic herbicides can control this species (Swearingen et al. 2002). Removal of vines coiled around trees is important or else it may girdle the growing tree (Remaley 1998).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Insignificant
Comments: Cutting should begin early in the growing season and cut every few weeks until autumn. (Remaley 1998)

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Many options for control, including cutting and herbicide use, minimize the effect on natives.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High significance
Comments: Widely planted and, unfortunately, will reinfest from private gardens. Many alternatives exist, including a wisteria native to the U.S. Wisteria frutescens.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Franklin, M., compiler. 2005. Invasive exotic plants in NC 2005. Online: http://www.ncwildflower.org/invasives/invasives.htm. Accessed 2005.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Martin, T. No date. Weed notes: Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda. Wildland Invasive Species Team/The Nature Conservancy.Available: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/wisspp01.pdf. (Accessed 2004).

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 2004 (last updated October 6, 2004). Non-native plant species. Online: www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/iepintro.asp. Accessed 2005.

  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. 1986. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, Illinois. 507 pp.

  • Remaley, T. 1998. Exotic wisterias - Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda. Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group (PCA APWG) Weeds Gone Wild Factsheets. Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/wist1.htm. (Accessed 2004).

  • Swearingen, J., K. Reshetiloff, B. Slattery, and S. Zwicker. 2002. Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 82 pp.

  • Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council. Not dated. Tennessee invasive exotic plant list. Online: http://www.tneppc.org/Invasive_Exotic_Plant_List/The_List.htm. Accessed 2005.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • University of Hawaii. 1998. Hawaii alien plant studies. Online: http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/cw_smith/aliens.htm. Accessed 2005.

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