Wisteria Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Wisteria plants are some of the most unassuming when you first get them, but pretty soon you’ll be treated to an unforgettable display of cascading flowers that smell simply divine.

They attract a lot of attention both from people and from pollinators, and the plants themselves are very long-lived.

Wisteria flowers possess a lot of symbolism, which is rooted into quite a few cultures around the world, as these beautiful flowers have captured the imaginations of many.

What does ‘Wisteria’ Mean?

The word ‘Wisteria’ comes from Thomas Nuttall, a botanist, who named the genus after Caspar Wistar, an American physician. 

It’s claimed that the Portuguese botanist José Francisco Correia da Serra named the flower after Caspar Wistar, as he was a close friend. But we’ll never know for sure which named the flower after Caspar, just that they did. 

This vine is native to many places, including the Eastern United States, the Southern parts of Canada, Japan, Korea, and China. 

What do Wisteria Flowers Symbolize?

Wisteria flowers (see also Flower Names Starting With W) have been used in art for thousands of years because of their beauty, so they symbolize beauty, inspiration, and creativity. 

They feature heavily in Japan, and have been used in family crests for centuries.

Wisteria flowers symbolize different things depending on who you ask, but they normally represent immortality, as well as the wisdom gained by living a long, full life, as the vine can live for more than 100 years. 

The meaning can also change with the color of the flower.

What does Pink Wisteria Symbolize?

Pink wisteria flowers symbolize affection and love, and are popular wedding decorations.

What Does White Wisteria Mean?

White wisteria flowers symbolize eternal life, spirituality, and innocence.

What does Blue Wisteria Represent?

Blue wisteria flowers symbolize a fresh start, as well as good luck.

What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Wisteria?

While fossils of wisteria have been found dating back to 7 million years ago in China, they’ve only been in Europe for a couple of centuries. 

In the US, they were first grown as an ornamental plant during the mid-1800s, where they soon gained a lot of popularity.

To the Victorians, wisteria were a warning flower, unlike most which radiate affection and positivity. 

Wisteria were known to represent love in the context of obsession, and as the plants are very invasive, often strangling their neighbors and even bringing down trees, you might see why. 

Wisteria are also popular trees grown as bonsai, and while they may not produce as many flowers as their bigger counterparts, they do make for a spellbinding display. 

If you struggle to tell the difference between Japanese (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese (Wisteria sinensis) wisteria, you can identify them by which way the vine grows. 

Japanese wisteria twines itself clockwise around supports, while Chinese wisteria twines itself anticlockwise (see also Growing Wisteria). 

In Japan, wisteria is noted for its long life and durability. You can also see this in the account in 1819 in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, where it was infested with red spider mites, the soil riddled with mold, frozen at least three times during winter. It still flowered the following spring. 

What does a Wisteria Tattoo Mean?

Wisteria tattoos are renowned for their beauty as well as their symbolism. They represent romance, resilience, and the appreciation of nature and beauty.

They can also represent someone significant who has offered a wealth of support, or the events that have tied you to the people you love, no matter what may come. 

When Should You Give Someone Wisteria Flowers?

Wisteria flowers aren’t common gifts, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be. Because of their shape, they can be tricky to transport, and they’re often given as a cut flower straight from the vine.

They are most often used at weddings to celebrate long life, beauty, and new beginnings, which make them a good gift at such a celebration – white or blue wisteria flowers in particular.

One of the easiest ways to give wisteria as a gift is to give someone a wisteria bonsai tree, as they will flower year after year with the right care, and can be as long-lived as the wisterias that climb up trees, walls, and houses. 

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