Do you know that one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world is located in Los Angeles? Well, I didn’t know either a few weeks ago. As I was looking for spring festivals and activities, I found a small article about the world’s largest blossoming plant. Can you imagine my excitement when I realized it was in my neighborhood?!
In today’s post, I’ll invite you to discover this magnificent blossoming plant located northeast of Los Angeles in the Sierra Madre. Follow me for this colorful and scented discovery.
A pinch of history
- This plant was named, in 1818, the genus Wistaria (also spelt Wisteria) in honor of Dr. Caspar Wistar.
- The Wisteria Vine was planted in April 1894 by Mr. and Mrs. Brugman.
- The original house collapsed due to the weight of the vine.
- Property owners of the house have been the caregivers ever since.
Originally, Alice Brugman bought this plant in a gallon can for 75 cents from the R.H. Wilson Nursery in Monrovia. Since then, the Wistaria has grown significantly to be certified, in 1990, as the World’s largest blossoming plant by the Guinness Book of World Records! Don’t miss this once a year opportunity to discover this magnificent vegetal!
The Wisteria Vine
The Wisteria vines are originally native from Asia and probably have been brought to Europe by Marco Polo in the 13th century. Among the 10 different species, the vine located in the Sierra Madre is the “Chinese Lavender.”
The plant has been growing for the past 100 years to weigh today over 250 tons and to cover one acre of land. Over the years, the vine has inherited different nicknames like the “Glorified Bean,” the “Queen of the San Gabriels,” “Lavender Lady,” or “Sierra Madre’s Treasure.”
The most amazing season for our senses is probably spring. Indeed, during its five weeks blossoming period, there will be 1.5 million blossoms. Imagine the force of the fragrance mixed with the color purple blooming flowers. A gorgeous specimen!
Celebrations and Festivals
Property owners have been celebrating the Vine thanks to many festivals and festivities. The first festival occurred in 1918 and attracted nearly 12,000 people. Interest and attraction for the Wisteria grew quickly and in the 30’s the festival welcomed 100,000 visitors.
Nowadays, the Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival is organized by the Chamber of Commerce. Actually, the vine is located in the backyard of two private properties and owners generously open their gates, once a year, for this event. In addition to the vine viewing, the Chamber holds a festival featuring arts, crafts vendors, food, etc.
We entered to the first property and navigated through the second one. It can be quick as residences are not huge. However, enjoying the Wisteria is timeless. Unfortunately for visitors this year, the blooming of the Wistaria Vine had just started and was not at its best. Actually, lower temperatures from the past few weeks had just slowed down the blooming compared to previous years. That’s why the purple flowers are not covering the entire plant if you refer to the pictures.
The music was in the air as we walked through the second house. Sitting on the original house’s foundations (the one which collapsed due to the vine weight), a musician was playing cello. The music created a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.
What are the other 6 Horticultural Wonders of the World?
Nature lovers, if you wonder what are the remaining six horticultural phenomena. Please see the list below:
- Redwood Forest from Sequoia National Park – USA
- Amazon Rainforest Jungle – Brazil
- Xochimilco Floating Gardens – Mexico
- Taj Mahal’s Garden – India
- Yokohama Rock Gardens – Japan
- Buckingham Palace’s Garden – England
Don’t miss your once-a-year shot to see the Sierra Madre’s treasure!
- Location: Sierra Madre N. Baldwin Avenue Sierra Madre, CA 91024 (festival). The vine is located at Carter Ave and Hermosa Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024.
- Hours: from 9 am to 5 pm (vine viewing).
- Cost: The annual festival and vine viewing admission is free. Shuttles from the festival to the Vine are available for $12 per adult, $7 per seniors and children.
- Duration: We spent 30 minutes to see the vine and 30 minutes waiting before to enter.
- Parking: street parking available. Some streets are closed but I recommend to park nearby and walk to the Wistaria (only 10 min walk)
- More information available at sierramadrechamber.com
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