Invasive Plant to Avoid: Japanese Wisteria
This week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Herring Run Nursery will be focusing each day on one invasive plant and a native alternative.
Don’t Plant: Japanese Wisteria
The Maryland Invasive Species Council maintains a list of species that present a particular threat to Maryland forests. You might be surprised to learn that Japanese and Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis, Wisteria floribunda) are on the list. The flowering vine kills trees and shrubs by climbing and girdling them. Wisteria also changes the structure of the forest by altering the light availability of the forest floor– damaging the understory by preventing new growth of native species.
Native Alternative: American Wisteria
American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is the perfect native alternative. It’s not aggressive and damaging like the Asian species, but produces equally lovely flowers. Another plus side for urban gardeners, American Wisteria can grow in smaller spaces than the Asian species, and does well in containers. American Wisteria attracts butterflies and is a larval host for the native pollinator moth Zarucco duskywing skipper. An excellent vine for arbors, pergolas, posts, trellises, fences or terrace walls.