Gargantuan Sierra Madre Vine Inspires Flowery Postmark

Going to see Sierra Madre's bloom-laden superstar? Arrive with mail.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Alysia Gray Painter
    Want to see many, many, many, many purple flowers, all bunched together? The world's largest blooming vine goes on display, for a day, in Sierra Madre.

    A pretty flower can inspire many things: t-shirts, tote bags, bookmarks.

    But it takes an exceptional plant to catch the eye of the United States Postal Service. The famous Sierra Madre wistaria is beyond exception, though, so it's a rather fitting twist in its twisty vine story that it will get, for one day only, a special postmark in its honor.

    Show up with mail at the Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival on Sunday, March 16 and make for the Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, and the Wistaria Festival Postal Station, where the postmark'll be available. (You can nab that postmark for 30 days following the festival, says the Sierra Madre News.)

    Postmarks were part of the 2013 festival, so call this a quirky postal tradition in the making.

    And what of the superstar vine itself? If you've been in Southern California since the 1890s, you know it has been alive in three different centuries, weighs over 250 tons, and is ensconced in the Guinness Book of World Records. Title? "Largest Blossoming Plant in the World."

    Yes, we said "ensconced," so stand warned, other blossoming plants everywhere: If you plan to oust the Sierra Madre wistaria from its Guinness throne, you have your work cut out.

    Yes, we're spelling it "wistaria," as that's the Sierra Madre style, and not "wisteria." What? You're going to argue with a 250-ton icon over an unusual spelling? No, you're totally not.

    The leafy leviathan, which sprawls over two backyards, is free to see on Sunday, March 16, though boarding a shuttle to ride up the hill to the house from Sierra Madre's main hub has a fee attached.

    There's a sweet festival in the town, too, if sweet festivals are your thing. That's where you'll get your wistaria postmark, your snacks, your crafts, your free tunes.

    And if you do go see the vine, consider that it started off in a single pot well over a century ago. True inspiration: We can all grow big with time, care, and, yes, water.

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