Wisteria sinensis is a deciduous woody vine capable of growing to a height of 40 ft. (12.2 m). Stems can be up to 10 in. (25.4 cm) in diameter with smooth, gray-brown bark. When looking down on the vine, it twines in a counter clockwise direction around the host.
Alternate, pinnately compound (7-13 leaflets) leaves are tapered at the tip with wavy edges. Leaflets are approximately 3 in. (7.6 cm) in length.
Lavender, purple or white flowers are fragrant, very showy and abundant and occur in long, dangling clusters in the spring, 6-12 inches long.
Seeds are contained in flattened, hairy, 6 in. (15.2 cm) long, bean-like pods. Invasions often occur around previous plantings.
Wisteria sinensis can displace native vegetation and kill trees and shrubs by girdling them. The vine has the ability to change the structure of a forest by killing trees and altering the light availability to the forest floor. A native of China, it was first introduced into the United States in 1816 for ornamental purposes.