Oriental Bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus

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Woody perennial plant, grows as a climbing vine/trailing shrub. Leaves are alternate, glossy, nearly as wide as they are long (round), with finely toothed margins. Fruits, yellow, globular capsules. Often confused with American bittersweet. American bittersweet has fewer, larger clusters of fruits whereas Oriental bittersweet is a prolific fruiter with lots of fruit clusters emerging at many points along the stem.


Infests forest edges, woodlands, fields, hedgerows, coastal areas and salt marsh edges, particularly those suffering some form of disturbance.

Location in Nebraska

Not known to exist in Nebraska. Occurs in adjacent states of Iowa and Missouri.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Introduced an ornamental plant, often associated with old home sites (from which it has escaped into natural areas). Still widely planted as an ornamental vine and use in floral arrangements. Reproduces prolifically by seed, dispersed by many species of birds and also expands through root suckering.


Vigorously growing vine that smothers vegetation. This plant is displacing native American bittersweet through competition and hybridization.

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