Plant A Day – American Bittersweet

American Bittersweet Celastrus scandens

American Bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Bittersweet is easily recognizable by its orange berries on vines which are often used in Thanksgiving and Christmas displays.  However, there are two species of Bittersweet found in Indiana; American and Oriental.  Guess which one is native and which is not!

They can often be found growing in the same places and look very similar until you start really looking them over and then you can tell them apart at a glance.  There are a number of slight differences which add up to a different overall look.

The main thing is that the flowers/berries of the American grow in small bunches at the end of the twigs while they grow along the stem on the Oriental Bittersweet.

American Bittersweet berries are larger and more orange-colored than Oriental

American Bittersweet berries are larger and more orange-colored than Oriental

The leaves are longer and pointier than Oriental Bittersweet

The leaves are longer and pointier than Oriental Bittersweet

The vines can be quite spectacular as the overtake the upper branches of trees

The vines can be quite spectacular as the overtake the upper branches of trees

cesc_plant_001

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One Response to Plant A Day – American Bittersweet

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

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