oriental bittersweet

Celastrales > Celastraceae > Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb.
Synonym(s): Asiatic bittersweet

Oriental bittersweet is a deciduous, climbing, woody vine that can grow to lengths of 60 ft. (18.3 m). The alternate, elliptical leaves are light green in color and 2-5 in. (5-13 cm) long. Small, inconspicuous, axillary flowers develop in the spring. Fruits are round and green when young and ripen to yellow and split to reveal showy, scarlet berries that persist into winter. It closely resembles American bittersweet (Clematis scandens), but can be distinguished because American bittersweet has flowers and fruits at the ends of branches, rather than in the axils of the leaves. Oriental bittersweet is commonly found through the southern Appalachians in old home sites, fields, and road edges. Some shade tolerance allows it to also grow in open forests. Prolific vine growth allows it to encircle trees and girdle them. Vines can completely cover other vegetation and shade, out-compete and kill even large trees. It can be dispersed widely and quickly due to birds eating the berries and spreading the seeds. Oriental bittersweet was introduced from China around 1860 as an ornamental. It has also been shown to hybridize with American bittersweet, potentially leading to a loss of genetic identity.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Seedling(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); vine closeup in October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; on twining vine in October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); Close-up of staminate flowers
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); mature fruit in July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); Fruit in tree
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Nancy Fraley, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Stem(s); Oriental bittersweet; vine wall; Asheville area
Max Williamson, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Connecticut - Noxious Weed Law
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • New Hampshire - Noxious Weed Law
  • North Carolina - Noxious Weed Law
  • Rhode Island - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Vermont - Noxious Weed Law
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England


External Links


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