Evergreen wisteria, scientifically named Millettia reticulata, is a type of perennial vine from the Papilionaceae family. It is native to several regions of China and Taiwan, where climates are moderately tropical. This flowering climber produces pods with several seeds that are directly sown for propagation. As a non-invasive vine, evergreen wisteria is commonly grown in gardens and other outdoor living spaces for ornamental purposes. These evergreens have also been found in open forests and meadows in some areas of North America, particularly in Texas, California, and Georgia.
Fragrant butterfly-shaped blossoms are considered this vine’s most distinctive feature. Each petal exhibits a gradated color beginning with a yellow-green base that leads to a bright pink middle and ends with a violet tip. When in full bloom, these flowers grow in grape-like clusters measuring around 8 inches (20 cm) each in diameter. Young green flower bulbs form at the tip of the woody stalks and eventually replace the withered blooms come early fall. Matured evergreen wisteria plants are known to continuously bear flowers from early summer until the first frost.
Foliage of this vine is composed of leathery elongated leaves that can either be evergreen or semi-evergreen depending on the coldness of the climate. Mildly warm climates are these vines' most preferred type of environment. A full-grown evergreen wisteria reaches heights of 15 feet (4.7 m) and will continuously creep sideways after reaching its maximum height.
These perennial climbers are commonly cultivated as cover plants for fences, walls, and gazebos. They can rapidly grow and follow the shape of whatever base they are attached to without being invasive to surrounding plants. Pergolas, structures that support creeping plants, can become completely twined and draped with evergreen wisteria just three to four months after propagation. People of Taiwan commonly use these vines to beautify covered walks and waiting sheds in public parks and gardens.
Certain species of evergreen vines are frequently associated with the evergreen wisteria, primarily because of its name and appearance. Evergreen wisteria is actually not from the genus Wisteria, which consists of flowering vines. This vine belongs to Millettia, a genus of legumes. The Chinese wisteria, or Wisteria sinensis, is often mistaken for Milettia reticulata because of its blue-violet flowers and leathery leaves; however, this variety grows taller, reaching up to 50 feet (15 m) in height. Japanese wisteria also hold very similar physical attributes as the evergreen wisteria, but this species produces pinkish white flowers.