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Callerya reticulata (Benth.) Schot.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Millettia championii, Millettia kiangsiensis, Millettia reticulata
Common Name: Evergreen Wisteria, Leatherleaf Millettia, 鸡血藤, 老荊藤
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Herb & Spice Bonsai Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Climber, Vine and Liana Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana, Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 3.5 m to 4.5 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.9 m to 1.8 m


Native Distribution China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal, Temperate
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A liana, woody twining vine, climbing up to around 10 m height, with 1.8 m spread. 
Foliage Leaves compound, each composed of 7-13 leathery leaflets; blades ovate-elliptical, oblong, sometimes narrowly lanceolate, base rounded or cuneate, apex acuminate or retuse; each leaftlet measures at about 3 x 1 cm to 6 x 4 cm; texture smooth papery.
Stems Stem thick, many branched; young woody stems have rather attractive, reddish brown bark, pubescent then glabrescent at maturity. 
Flowers Flowers pea-like, bluish-purple petals with bright yellow in the centre, weakly scented like camphor or cedar, with reproductive parts enclosed within the lower petal and visited by ants; large panicles or racemes, 15-20cm across, usually hidden amongst the dense foliage, pendulous, panicles axillary or terminal near the branchlets apex.
Fruits Fruits are velvety, elongated explosive pods, blacken when dry; contain black oblong seeds.
Similar Very similar-looking to Callerya taiwanensis (syn. Millettia taiwanensis), which has a more shrubby habit and is less heat-tolerant.
Taxonomy Despite its common name, plant is not related to the Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), a larger and more aggressive climber found in temperate climates. 
Cultivation Ideal as a neat, fine-textured cover for trellises, arbors and fences, where ornamental flowers provide an added surprise of mothball-like scent when closely sniffed. Also occasionally cutlivated as bonsai. Prefers fertile, loose, well-drained soils. Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers to promote better flowering. Remove spent flowers to encourage faster re-blooming.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Callerya' named in honour of 19th century French missionary Joseph Callery, who travelled and collected botanical specimens in China.  Species epithet 'reticulata' means 'netted', a reference to the plant's pinnate leaf venation.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
[Others]: Commonly known as 鸡血藤 (Ji Xue Teng, literally 'Chicken Blood Stem') in Chinese folk medicine, due to the reddish resin contained within the woody stems. Traditionally used in herbal decoctions to treat blood, menstrual and circulation-related disorders. Also has anti-inflammatory properties, and used to relieve autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers) (Day, Time Independent)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Bonsai, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Container Planting, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Soil pH 5.6 - 7.5

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Planting Distance From 1
Planting Distance To 1
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Fertilizing Fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Propagule Establishment Remarks Pre-soak seed for 12 hours in warm water before sowing. Remove leaves from softwood cuttings.
Propagation Method Remarks Allow seedpods to dry on plant before collecting. Use seeds as soon as possible. For cuttings, use softwood cuttings


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Papery
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Lanceolate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Retuse
Foliar Base Cuneate, Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Bark Colour(s) Reddish brown
Mature Bark Texture Lenticellate
Stem Type & Modification Woody, Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue, Purple, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Papilionaceous / Pea-shaped
Flower Size - Remarks 1.3 cm long flowers in 15-20cm long clusters
Inflorescence Type Panicle, Raceme
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Days
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Flower Texture(s) Remarks Glabrescent

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Leathery
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5), Moderate (6-10)

Image Repository



Master ID 14248
Species ID 3329
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 21 September 2020.