oriental bittersweet USDA PLANTS Symbol: CEOR7
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Vines
Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb.

Jump to: Resources | Images | Distribution Maps | Sources
Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Celastrales: Celastraceae
Synonym(s): Asiatic bittersweet
Native Range: China, Japan (REHD, BAIL);

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 (Celastrus 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

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Foliage; Juvenile vine.  twining vine in October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage;
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s); Close-up of staminate flowers
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); mature fruit in July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage;
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Feature(s); vine closeup in October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage; October
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage;
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Stem(s); Oriental bittersweet; vine wall; Asheville area
Max Williamson, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

Alternative content

Get Adobe Flash player


U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina)
Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland)
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
George Washington Memorial Parkway (Virginia)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina & Tennessee)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana)
Monocacy National Battlefield Park (Maryland)
National Capital Parks East (Washington, D.C.)
Petersburg National Battlefield (Virginia)
Richmond National Battlefield Park (Virginia)
Rock Creek National Park (Washington, D.C.)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Weir Farm National Historical Park (Connecticut)
Wolf Trap National Park (Virginia)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Alabama Invasive Plant Council
City of Ann Arbor Michigan Parks and Recreation
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1994.
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group
Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 2004
Faith Campbell, 1998
Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society
Invasive Plant Council of New York State
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.  2003. Invasive Plant Control in Maryland. Home and Garden Information Center, Home and Garden Mimeo HG88. 4 pp.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 1994
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Missouri Department of Conservation,
New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee. 2005. Guide to Invasive Upland Plant Species in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Department of Agriculture,  Markets and Food Plant Industry Division and New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee.
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island Natural History Society,
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Tatyana Livschultz, Pennsylvania survey of invasive plants,
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2009