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Celastrus orbiculatus

Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb.

Celastrus orbiculata Thunb. orth. var.

Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderCelastralesAbout 1300 varied mostly tropical and subtropical plants
FamilyCelastraceaeStaff vine or bittersweet family of vines, shrubs and small trees
GenusCelastrusGreek for a type of evergreen plant
Speciesorbiculatus“Disk-shaped, rounded,” for the leaves

About plant names...

The bright red berries nestled in yellow husks on these vines are prized by many for making Thanksgiving decorations, but oriental bittersweet is a killer. Okay, maybe that sounds a little strong for a plant, but this plant grows very quickly, encircling, entwining, strangling, and shading even very large trees. Vines reach four inches in diameter, and produce enormous numbers of new plants. They are considered a dangerous invasive.

Identification: Though oriental bittersweet is not native to North America, the related species American bittersweet is. The native variety is well-behaved, and dwindling, even threatened, in part by people trying to eliminate the oriental variety. Hence it is important to protect the American variety and slow the spread of the oriental variety.

Oriental BittersweetAmerican Bittersweet
StemsStem has blunt thornsStem is smooth
Berries  Copious, appearing all along the vineAppearing at tips of vine only
HusksBright yellowOrange
VinesWith blunt thorns or bumpsNo bumps
PollenWhiteYellow

Both species have red berries, alternate leaves, and bright orange roots.

Online References:

Celastrus orbiculatus on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Celastrus orbiculatus at Illinois Wildflowers

Celastrus orbiculatus on About.com: Landscaping

Celastrus orbiculatus on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Celastrus orbiculatus on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Celastrus orbiculatus on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Celastrus orbiculatus on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Celastrus orbiculatus on eFloras

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

A great demonstration of how vines look for supports. The young vine traces out a circular path as it grows, until it comes in contact with a support. It bends at the point of contact, here forming a coil. · 10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/6/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 1¾ × 1¾" (4.7 × 4.6 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

8/28/2010 · Near Boat Ramp, East Falmouth, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

As the tree grows, it envelops the surrounding bittersweet vine. · 4/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm) ID is uncertain

Celastrus orbiculatus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

9/24/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

10/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashua, NH
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/11/2008 · Acorn Trail, Great Brook State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 18 × 27" (45 × 68 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

9/9/2010 · Pine Meadow Conservation Trust Land, Groton Harvard Road, Ayer, MA
≈ 2½ × 3" (7.1 × 7.7 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/11/2008 · Acorn Trail, Great Brook State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

The orange roots are distinctive. · 6/29/2011 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

10/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashua, NH
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

2/20/2012 · Bancroft St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet, Asiatic Bittersweet)

10/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashua, NH
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Range:

About this map...