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Oriental Bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
sel-ASS-trus or-bik-yoo-LAY-tus
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Plants are either male or female

Native to Eastern Asia; listed as an invasive species by the NC State Weed Specialist, North Carolina Forest Service, USDA National Invasive Species Information Center; the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States, The National Park Service

Found primarily along forest edges, roadsides, and meadows in full sun. Spreads by prolific vine growth and seeds that are spread by birds, mammals, and people.  It was introduced from Southeast Asia around 1860 as an ornamental vine.

Bittersweet can be difficult to control.  Cutting or pulling alone does not work because cutting stimulates the vine to re-sprout ten-fold and any broken-off piece of root will re-grow. In the home landscape, it is probably best to cut the vines back to the ground and immediately treat the cut stem with herbicide.  Follow the directions on the label.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Diana'
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#weedy
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Diana'
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#weedy
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Celastrus
    Species:
    orbiculatus
    Family:
    Celastraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Russian Far East, China, Korea, Central & S. Japan
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Clusters of small capsules with 3 scarlet, fleshy, sections each with 2 white seeds, mature between August and January.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Diecious - male and female flowers on separate plants.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Deciduous, alternate, olive green in spring and summer; Light yellow fall foliage; round or tapered tips.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy