University of Maryland Extension

Oriental bittersweet

Back to Invasive Plant Photos and Information

Oriental bittersweet
Celastrus orbiculatus

oriental bittersweet

Life cycle: woody, perennial vine
Growth habit: climbing, deciduous vine; leaves rounded to obovate, alternate, simple with bluntly toothed margins
Reproduction: seed; flowers are inconspicuous followed by green to yellow fruits that burst open to display orange-red seeds persisting into fall after leaf drop. Often used to make wreaths and for fall decorations. This is not recommended because seeds can be inadvertently dispersed to other areas

Conditions that favor growth: forms tangles and thickets when left alone; can strangle other plants by girdling stems

Oriental bittersweet growing up trees
Oriental bittersweet strangles trees
Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Oriental bittersweet in winter
Winter photo of Oriental bittersweet
Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, 

Cultural control: manual removal as soon as possible, especially before fruit production

Additional Information



Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2021. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.