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
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.
Stem has blunt thorns
Stem is smooth
Copious, appearing all along the vine
Appearing at tips of vine only
With blunt thorns or bumps
Both species have red berries, alternate leaves, and bright orange roots.
4/9/2021 · Bowdoin Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Orr’s Island, Maine ≈ 6 × 10" (16 × 24 cm)
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, Massachusetts ≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)
11/6/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, Massachusetts ≈ 1¾ × 1¾" (4.7 × 4.6 cm)
8/28/2010 · Near Boat Ramp, East Falmouth, Massachusetts ≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)
11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, Massachusetts
11/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, Massachusetts ≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)
As the tree grows, it envelops the surrounding bittersweet vine. · 4/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, Massachusetts ≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm) ID is uncertain
Celastrus orbiculata Thunb.orth.var.
Celastrus orbiculatus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.