American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up American Bittersweet
Give a thumbs up Climbing Bittersweet
Give a thumbs up Fever Twitch
Give a thumbs up Bittersweet
Give a thumbs up Climbing Orange Root
Give a thumbs up Waxwork
Give a thumbs up Fever Twig

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7b
Plant Height: 15 to 20 feet
Plant Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish-white to yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Tolerates dry shade
Toxicity: Fruit is poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Endangered (EN)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Endangered
In the woods growing wild

Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 3, 2018 8:41 PM

The American Bittersweet grows in various upland sites from southern Maine, the southern St Lawrence River & the southeast tip of Ontario down to northern Georgia to most of Oklahoma up through areas of the Dakotas into southern Manitoba. I've only seen the species four times so far in my life: three times vines planted in northern Illinois and one time of vines planted at Morris Arboretum in Pennsylvania. The 2 to 4 inch long leaves are usually oblong ovate and turn light yellow in fall. The tiny yellowish-green flowers and the pea-sized red fruit are uncovered when ripe by 3-valved capsules that are orange and are born terminally in small clusters about 2 to 3 inches long. This woody vine (liana) that climbs by twining usually does not get longer than 20 feet. It can girdle small trees by its twining. Best grown on a stout trellis or fence. It is fast growing of up to 10 feet/year and it has a sparsely fibrous and deep root system that makes it hard to transplant. (The Oriental Bittersweet is similar but has more rounded leaves and bears its flowers and fruit laterally. This latter species is very invasive and much more rampant growing than the American species, and does harm small trees and shrubs by twining around trunks and stems. It gets to around 40 feet long and develops large vine trunks. It has replaced the native species in southeast PA.)

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What plant is this? New Jersey by crumpybumpy Nov 7, 2019 11:24 AM 7
What plant is this? by MiraDee Jul 17, 2019 7:15 PM 4
could someone help id these two plants please thanks by plantguy1981 Oct 23, 2018 11:16 AM 4
What fruit is this? by MiraDee Oct 6, 2018 4:20 PM 10
two questions please by craigm1114 May 30, 2018 6:58 AM 5
I'm looking for a specific kind of plant... by APMJohnson May 23, 2018 8:39 PM 4
Mislabeled invasive vine by crawgarden Jan 9, 2018 4:05 AM 0
Evergreen climbing vine by rfrenkel123 Dec 4, 2017 11:05 AM 4
Can someone help with identifying this plant by idn Sep 1, 2017 10:35 AM 2
Merry Christmas to All - 2016 by RickM Jan 3, 2017 9:07 PM 43

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