Bittersweet Plant - Knowledgebase Question

Howard, OH
Question by MISSMJT
July 1, 1999
Is Bittersweet considered an endangered plant?


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Answer from NGA
July 1, 1999

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Bittersweet is quite abundant and not at all considered an endangered plant. In fact, Celastrus orbiculata (Oriental bittersweet) is a serious threat to plant communities due to its high reproductive rate, long range dispersal, ability to root sucker, and rapid growth rate. Climbing Oriental bittersweet vines severely damage native vegetation by constricting and girdling stems. Vines can shade, suppress, and ultimately kill native vegetation. Oriental bittersweet has been shown to hybridize with the relatively rare American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens L.). Hybridization may lead to the loss of American bittersweet's genetic identity through introgression. Both are members of the Celastraceae (Stafftree) family.

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