Oriental bittersweet

Oriental Bittersweet

(Celastrus orbiculatus)

Description: This deciduous vine has rounded or teardrop-shaped leaves with toothed edges that become glossy in summer and yellow in fall. The younger stems often appear to have spots or bumps. They produce green berries by July that turn yellow by August, orange-red by fall, and persist into winter.

Impact: Like porcelain berry, oriental bittersweet grows densely, preventing new plants from growing. It can girdle, strangle and eventually kill the trees they cover. Oriental bittersweet has replaced nearly all our native American bittersweet in New England.

Management: Killing the plant before it fruits is important. Younger vines can be removed by hand; look for the orange taproot to ensure you’ve removed the entire plant. Older vines need to be cut down or sawed to the base of the stem and painted with herbicide. Cutting back the vines before they fruit during the summer and applying herbicide in the fall or spring is also effective.