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Oriental Bittersweet

Photo by Paul Rischmiller

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Common Name: Oriental bittersweet
Scientific Name: Celastrus orbiculatus
Origin: Asia


Oriental, or Asiatic, bittersweet is a perennial, deciduous vine that can grow to 60 feet. Stems have dark brown, striated bark. Elliptic to ovate leaves are alternate and spiral evenly around the stem. Axillary flowers bloom in May to early June yielding bright, reddish-orange fruit in the fall. Oriental bittersweet can be confused with American bittersweet, which has a terminal inflorescence and is native.


Oriental bittersweet grows most profusely in the sun but can tolerate dense shade. It grows in disturbed woodlands, fields, and roadsides.


This plant causes major damage to native plants by girdling. Mechanical damage of trees and other plants is also caused by additional weight to the branches.


Where practical, individual vines should be pulled up by the roots and removed from the area by hand. Vines can also be cut by hand, and cut stems spot-treated with selective herbicides.

Distribution: View Map

Oriental bittersweet is present in the FL-PRISM.

Invasive Rank