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A deciduous climber growing 30 ft and upwards high; young shoots softly downy. Leaves pinnate, 8 to 14 in. long, composed usually of eleven leaflets, sometimes nine or thirteen; main-stalk downy. Leaflets oval to ovate, with a tapered apex and usually rounded base, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. wide, both surfaces, but especially the lower one, softly downy. Racemes pendulous 4 to 6 in. long, 3 to 4 in. wide, the stalks densely downy. Flowers white, opening in May and June, slightly fragrant, 1 to 11⁄4 in. long; standard petal roundish, 1 in. wide, stained with yellow at the base. Calyx downy, cup-shaped, about 1⁄2 in. wide, the lobes triangular or awl-shaped; flower-stalks about 11⁄2 in. long at the base of the raceme, becoming shorter towards the end. Pods 6 to 8 in. long, velvety. Bot. Mag., t. 8811.
This wisteria, long cultivated in Japan, where it is known as ‘Shira Fuji’, is a white-flowered form of a species native to that country (see f. violacea). It was described in 1916 but was first seen in Britain in May 1912, when it was shown in bloom in the Japanese section of the International Horticultural Exhibition at Chelsea, under the probably correct name of W. brachybotrys, and was introduced to Kew in the following year from the Yokohama Nursery Company.
W. venusta used to grow luxuriantly in the garden of Hugh Wormald at Heathfield, East Dereham, Norfolk (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 59 (1934), p. 280 and fig. 99); ibid., Vol. 73 (1948), p. 331 and fig. 137). It received an Award of Merit in 1945 when exhibited by Messrs Notcutt, who acquired their original stock from Mr Wormald, and a First Class Certificate in 1948. Earlier it had been largely imported from Japan but the plants were often badly grafted and short-lived. It can be kept permanently in a shrubby state by shortening the long shoots once or twice in summer and then pruning them to within an inch or two of the base in winter. It is quite hardy and a beautiful wisteria. Besides being larger than those of the white-flowered forms of W. sinensis and W. floribunda its flowers are of greater substance and all open more or less simultaneously.
The actual plant at Heathfield, East Dereham, Norfolk, mentioned by Mr Bean on page 757, no longer exists, but Mr T. J. Wormald tells us that there is a vigorous plant on the house which may have originated from it.
W. brachybotrys Sieb. & Zucc.