invasive oriental bittersweet vines with orange and yellow berries

Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) fruit ripens in the fall. Do not cut them for fall decorations as this helps to spread this noxious weed.
Photo: James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Updated: May 11, 2022

About Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Life cycle

Woody, perennial vine

Growth habit

Climbing, deciduous vine; leaves rounded to obovate, alternate, simple with bluntly toothed margins 

oriental bittersweet wrapping around a tree
Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

 

Oriental bittersweet roots have an orange tinge to them

Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Oriental bittersweet seedling reaching for the sun in a wooded area

Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Closeup of young Oriental bittersweet foliage.

Photo: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Oriental bittersweet taking over trees in a natural area.

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 when moving the vines. 

fruit of oriental bittersweet
Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Conditions that favor growth

Forms tangles and thickets when left alone; can strangle other plants by girdling stems

Cultural control

Manual removal as soon as possible, especially before fruit production

Additional resources

Invasive Vine and Groundcover Control

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

(PDF) Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas

Oriental Bittersweet | Penn State Extension

Still have a question? Contact us at Ask Extension.