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Oriental, Asian Bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculata

Plant: Deciduous, climbing and twining woody vine, to 60 ft (20 m) long, forming arbor infestations, having alternate rounded to elliptic leaves, and cymes of inconspicuous greenish-white flowers in spring and then 3-parted scarlet berries with orange capsules along the vine in fall and winter. Occurs in open forests and on forest edges. Colonizes by stolons and rootsuckers.

Stem: Woody vine, to 4 in (10 cm) diameter, twining and arbor forming with many alternate branches, tan and growing at angles becoming straight and olive drab with many raised whitish-corky dots, flower branch scars semicircular with corky projecting hoods.

Leaves: Alternate, elliptic to oval to round or obovate, variable in shape and size, about 1.5-5 in (4-12 cm) long, tips pointed or round, petioles 0.4-1.2 in (1-3 cm) long, margins bluntly toothed (crenate-serrate), dark green above becoming yellow in fall.

Flowers: May. Axillary in numerous tiny-branched clusters (cymes), 3-7 flowers, inconspicuous, greenish-yellow. 5 petals.

Fruit and seeds: Aug-Jan. Drooping clusters of fleshy scarlet seeds, 3 pressed together in a sphere, enclosed within a yellow-orange capsule that splits and folds back in winter appearing as 3 hooded-wings over the dangling

October (J. Miller)

December (J. Miller)
seeds. Very showy and collected traditionally for winter decorations, which contributes to plant spread.

Ecology: Spreads by animal-dispersed seeds and humans collecting decorative seed-bearing vines. Colonizes by stolons and rootsuckers. Found as scattered plants to extensive infestations in forest openings as well as open and canopied forests, forest edges and roadsides, and upland meadows. Shade tolerant and tolerant of a wide range of sites.

Resembles American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) which has only terminal flowers and fruit, and leaves usually twice as long as wide, and are lacking among the flowers and fruit. Claims of hybridization between the two species.

Exotic Pest Plant Control Recommendations

Bayer International Code - CEOR
FIA Code - 3026

October (J. Miller) December (J. Miller)


October (J. Miller) October (J. Miller)


August (J. Miller) Spring (M. Brand)

Summer (M. Brand) States with suspected
infestations are shown in red.*

September (PLANTS Database)

* USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. February 5, 2002.

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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQ The Bugwood Network University of Georgia Invasive.org is a joint project of
The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.
The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Sunday, August 10, 2003 at 11:16 PM
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