Celastrus scandens American bittersweet Celastraceae CESC; Bx, pb (DeCandido 2001); NY (DeCandido 2001); Q (DeCandido 2001); R, mm;

celastrus scandens. Bob Popp.Copyright © 2014 Vermont Nongame & Natural Heritage Program.New England Wild Flower Society.gobotany.newenglandwild.org

Celastrus scandens.Bob Popp.Copyright © 2014 Vermont Nongame & Natural Heritage Program.New England Wild Flower Society.gobotany.newenglandwild.org (accessed 5/2014).

Celastrus scandens woody  twining vine, to 7 m long; bark gray, young stems red-brown. 

Leaves alternate, egg-shaped about twice as long as wide, margin with very small teeth, tip pointed. 

Flowers greenish, small, numerous, in terminal clusters, 5-10 cm long (i.e. only at branch tips); pollinated by bees (Ma and Moore 2004).

Fruit yellow, capsule, opening to show red aril covering several seeds. Fruit eaten by some song and game birds leaves eaten by rabbits (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: FACU-. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent (probably very infrequent). 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Edges of woodlands; soil pH 5-7.5; tolerant of shade, moderately tolerant of drought; intolerant of fire, anaerobic soil, salt (USDA, NRCS 2006). 

Notes: Hybridizes with C. orbiculatus and could potentially loose its genetic identity (Ma and Moore 2004). May have been planted in some restoration sites.