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

Celastrus scandens fruit. Jensen's Nursery Garden Centre. plants.jensennursery.com

Celastrus scandens fruit. Jensen’s Nursery Garden Centre. plants.jensennursery.com (Accessed 12/2017).

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

Celastrus scandens leaves. © 2010 k. chayka. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.infoCelastrus scandens leaves. © 2010 k. chayka. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info

Celastrus scandens leaves. © 2010 k. chayka. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info (Accessed 12/2017).

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

Celastrus scandens pistillate flowers. 2003 © Peter M. Dziuk. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info

Celastrus scandens pistillate flowers. 2003 © Peter M. Dziuk. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info (Accessed 12/2017).

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). 

Celastrus scandens staminate flowers. 2012 © Peter M. Dziuk. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info

Celastrus scandens staminate flowers. 2012 © Peter M. Dziuk. Minnesota Wildflowers. minnesotawildflowers.info (Accessed 12/2017).

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.