As I was working away at fall cleanup late last year, I saw was I thought was leftover pole beans meandering through the wisteria. Upon closer inspection I realized that these “hanging beans” were actually growing right from the wisteria vines.
Wisteria is a flowering, climbing vine that develops unique and vibrant purple flowers each spring, and as the season moves along, 4-6 inch seedpods that are almost undetectable within all the foliage. The pods turn brown as they dry on the vine and once that drying process is complete, these pods become quite interesting.
Now, having any plant grow seeds or pods is certainly not a new concept, but how wisteria disperses its seed is quite unique. It’s explosive. Literally. The wisteria pod actually bursts open and “throws” its seed away from the existing plant.
Wisteria’s become very thick and full over time, so new seedlings need space to grow without being crowded by the parent plant, therefore, they fling themselves away to start a new vine of their own – and make quite a commotion while doing so. Think “popcorn”.
We’re still a few weeks away from spring – prime pod popping time, and as the snow starts to melt and temperatures rise, I’ll be out there waiting (from a distance, so I don’t get hit!) for the show to begin.
Here’s a YouTube link that very clearly (and loudly!) demonstrates how these seedpods pop (shown with authors permission). Who would have thought a graceful, flowing, flowering vine could be so entertaining!