Sierra Madre Wistaria Vine – Sierra Madre, California - Atlas Obscura

Sierra Madre, California

Sierra Madre Wistaria Vine

Gorgeous purple flowers drape from the world's largest blossoming plant. 

Every spring, a breathtaking swathe of purple emerges within the shadow of the parched Southern California mountains. This spectacular colorful display is thanks to the beautiful flowers that burst from the branches of one extra-special vine.

This lovely “Lavender Lady,” as some call it, is the largest flowering plant in the world. Every spring, more than a million gorgeous purple blossoms drape from its tangled branches. Its seeds originally came from China, and two homeowners planted it in 1894 to celebrate their new house.

In a sad twist of fate, the wistaria (this particular plant is referred to as the “wistaria” rather than “wisteria”) eventually grew so large it destroyed the home it was planted to honor. It now occupies a staggering one-acre stretch of space.

Though the Guiness Book of World Records lists the vine as the world’s largest blossoming plant, the massive specimen is strangely hard to see. As it’s on private property, the public is only able to visit the behemoth beauty once a year during the annual Wistaria Festival. On this day, the whole town (plus plant-loving travelers) gather to celebrate this local celebrity.

It’s worth the wait. Witnessing this rare botanic gem is a true treat. Being able to walk under its sprawling canopy of delicate purple flowers is a magical experience. It’s no wonder it’s considered to be one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world.

Know Before You Go

Shuttle costs $12 to see the vine, but the festival itself is free. The festival typically occurs in March.