Other names: Bittersweet, Climbing Bittersweet
|Photo by Peter Gorman at Flickr under a Creative Commons license|
C. scandens is a native species that may be confused with C. orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet) which is native to China and Japan.
Leaves of C. scandens are pointed, while they are more leathery and rounded in C. orbiculatus.
The fruits of C. orbiculatus are located in the leaf axils (rarely in a terminal panicle) whereas the fruits of C. scandens are located in a terminal panicle. There are usually at least five flowers/fruits per group, fewer in C. orbiculatus. Fruit capsules of C. scandens are orange; those of C. orbiculatus are usually paler, often more yellow.
Seeds of C. scandens are darker in color than those of C. orbiculatus. C. scandens has fewer seeds per fruit (one to three) than C. orbiculatuas.
See also identification tips in Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-alikes: an Identification Guide for the Mid-Atlantic (PDF) by the New York Botanical Garden.
Fruit ripening dates: September
Seed dispersal dates: October through November
- Species profile at USDA Plants Database
- Michigan Flora online species profile
- University of Wisconsin-Steven Point Robert. W. Freckmann herbarium species profile
- Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center species profile
- Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Illinois species profile
- Distinguishing native (Celastrus scandens L.) and invasive (C. orbiculatus Thunb.) bittersweet species using morphological characteristics (PDF) and Abstract
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