Plant A Day – Oriental Bittersweet

Oriental Bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus

Oriental Bittersweet
Celastrus orbiculatus

Like so many other species in Indiana, there is a native version and an alien version of Bittersweet.  This is the alien version, Celastrus orbiculatus.  The native version is called American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens).  In some parts of the U.S. the Oriental Bittersweet is an invasive problem.  Around northeast Indiana, I’ve only seen it in a couple of places where it’s not really taking over at all.  I’ve heard that it’s a real problem in the dunes area of northwest Indiana.

They look quite similar, but the leaves of the Oriental are more oval while American leaves are more pointy.  The flower petals are different and the flower clusters of the Oriental emerge along the stem whereas they emerge from the end of the stems on the American.

The leaves of the Oriental Bittersweet are oval rather than pointed like the American Bittersweet

The leaves of the Oriental Bittersweet are oval rather than pointed like the American Bittersweet

The flowers of the Oriental Bittersweet originate along the stem rather than at the end of the branch like American Bittersweet

The flowers of the Oriental Bittersweet originate along the stem rather than at the end of the branch like American Bittersweet

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Bittersweets are thick viney plants which drape over whatever they are on

Bittersweets are thick viney plants that drape over whatever they are on

The fruits are situated singly along the stem

The fruits are situated along the stem

The husk of the fruit is yellower and a bit smaller than American Bittersweet

The husk of the fruit is yellower and a bit smaller than American Bittersweet

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One Response to Plant A Day – Oriental Bittersweet

  1. Pingback: Plant A Day – American Bittersweet | Naturally Speaking

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