Wistaria Festival

Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival

and Car Show, March 22, 2020

Webmaster’s note: I actually shot this photo in my backyard. It is not part of the famous vine. Statistics (Estimates)

  • 1.5 million luxuriant lavender blossoms
  • 250 tons
  • More than one acre in size
  • 500 foot branches
  • 40 blossoms per sq. foot
  • Growth rate (per various experts) from 24″ in 24 hours to 26″ in 48 hours
  • Named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest blossoming plant in the world
  • Named one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world, along with the redwood forest in Sequoia National Park, Brazil’s tropical jungle in the Amazon Valley, Mexico’s Xochimilco floating gardens, India’s gardens of the Taj Mahal, Japan’s Yokohama rock gardens, and the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Wistaria is commonly spelled either wistaria or wisteria, but since it was named in 1818 for Caspar Wistar of the University of Pennsylvania to honor his contributions to science, it probably is properly Wistaria.
Sierra Madre’s vine was planted by William and Alice Brugman. According to a letter from the Brugman’s daughter, Emily Brugman Childs, it was originally purchased from the old Wilson Nursery in Monrovia in a gallon can for $ .75 in 1894.  The vine is of the Chinese lavender variety. It is a member of the pea family, even though its seeds resemble beans (shiny, flat and black). The seeds are said to have been brought to Europe by Marco Polo in the 13th century as prized treasures from the Orient.
H.T. Fennel bought the house in 1913, and built extra arbors to support it so it could cover the house. Photographs from the 1930s show that it did just that; eventually the roof collapsed and the house was torn down in 1931. The arbors were retained, and a new house was built 200 feet away.
In 1918, 12,000 people attended the first public Wistaria Festival. In the 1930s, a 6-week Wistaria event took place, with more than 100,000 people making the trip to see the vine. Extra “Red Cars” were put on the Pacific Electric route to Sierra Madre to handle the crowds. In the 1940s and again in the 1960s, at considerable expense, the vine required horticultural restoration, dry ice packs, three foot hypodermic needles with Vitamin B, hormone shots and more.
Through the years the vine has had many nicknames, among them Glorified Bean, Jack’s Beanstalk, Queen of the San Gabriels, Lavender Lady, Sierra Madre’s Treasure, and the Monster.  The Sierra Madre City Council proclaimed 1994 as the Centennial Year of the Wistaria.

Video of photos from the 2007 Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival, featuring music by the late Michael Zubia, who performed classical guitar at the vine for several years.

The 2020 Wistaria Vine Festival Will Bring Thousands to Sierra Madre to See the World’s Largest Blossoming Plant

Art and Garden Faire features up to 100+ Artisans

WHO Public invited: Shuttle ticket serves as entry ticket – Order Wistaria shuttle tickets online

WHAT           Viewing of Wistaria Vine: Annual Wistaria Festival and Village celebration; World’s largest blossoming plant

WHEN           March 22, 2020 �
Vine viewing:                   9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., last bus up leaves at 4:30
Art & Craft Faire:            9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

WHERE       Sierra MadreEast of Pasadena, northwest of Arcadia. Take Foothill freeway (210) to Baldwin Avenue off-ramp; Go north one mile to Sierra Madre Boulevard for Festivities, shuttle buses, information and parking.

Mapquest Map

HOW                      For updated Wistaria Festival info., call 626-355-5111.   For Wistaria Festival related questions, e-mail smcc@gmail.com

  • Shuttle ticket serves as entry ticket, if not riding shuttle, you may view the vine, as well.
  • Advance reservations required; tickets limited
  • Shuttle buses (optional; however, walk is one mile uphill, between downtown Sierra Madre and Wistaria Vine).
  • Order Shuttle Tickets Online

Note:      Grounds are on private property; access incompatible for people with limited mobility; call 626-355-5111 for more information.   Wheelchairs, strollers not allowed.

Tour Groups: Contact the Chamber at 626-355-5111 for procedure.

WHAT ELSE?      FESTIVITIES in downtown Sierra Madre (near shuttles):

  • Wistaria Auto Show!
  • Art & Craft Faire, up to 100+ juried artisans, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Village restaurants featuring indoor and outdoor dining
  • Live music featuring  musical acts in outdoor locations
  • Special Wistaria Festival US Postal Stamp cancellation
  • Memorial Park Kids’ Zone and Food Court

About the Wistaria Festival

History of the Vine, by town Historian Phyllis Chapman (written in 2012, so add eight years)

Special Postmark Cancellation During Festival (and the following 30 days)  Check back to confirm 2020 participation

Ham Radio Operators Essential Part of Logistics of Festival (written a couple years ago, but not much has changed.)

Sierra Madre Dining

Wistaria Festival 2013 – Music Videos,  Photo Gallery, Video of Vine Tour
Wistaria Festival 2012 – Working the Festival, no coverage
Wistaria Festival 2011 – Working the Festival, no coverage
Wistaria Festival 2010 – Working the Festival, no coverage




7 Comments on "Wistaria Festival"

  1. Hi there, does anyone know what artist was displaying/selling metal wall sculptures with a sun/moon motif. I want to buy one of his pieces as a gift.



  2. a local resident | March 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply

    I grew up a block away from this little plant, and have never in the dozens of years ive seen it with ‘500 foot branches’ or ’40 blossoms per sq foot’
    That last time I was there the largest of the 5 or 6 plants was 50 ft from one end to the other at best. This event is nothng more than a money making event for the owners and the city. The ‘facts’ in the article are grossly exaggerated to say the very least. I do admit it is a nice plant to go and see, but definitly over hyped!

    • Actually the owners make no money from it, nor does the City. It’s a Chamber event, not a city event. And the property owners are kind enough to open their property to as many as a couple thousand people in a single day. Since the Chamber hires the buses and charges for the tickets, but it’s free to get in to the vine, how exactly is it that you think the property owners make money? A little gratitude is in order, not cynicism.

  3. Rosemond Sagoe | March 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply

    I would like to be a vendor in your up coming festival March 17.My product are African clothes.Please can you send me the application form or email me at to how I can join?
    Thank you,

  4. Wistaria is a beautiful flower and this seems like a wonderful festival.

  5. We would like to be a vendor in your festival. Can you send us to the application or mail one?
    Our product is beaded hematite bracelets, beaded Chan Luu Style, with semi-precious stones, Shamballa friendship bracelets, other similar jewelry items. Leather wrap jewelry.
    Also Beautiful scarves with pendants and/or beads attached.
    Thank you,

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