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Celastrus scandens L.
USDA Symbol: CESC
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A high-climbing or sprawling woody vine, reaching 30 ft. Deciduous leaves are simple, ovate and dark-green; greenish-yellow in fall. Small, greenish flowers are followed by a showy, orange capsule that splits open to expose a crimson aril. A twining, woody vine that produces small green flowers and distinctive bicolored fruits. The fruit is held in drooping clusters.
This native species is being replaced in the Northeast by the more aggressive Asiatic Bittersweet (C. orbiculatus) which has escaped from cultivation. It has flowers and showy scarlet fruit arising from the axils of the leaves.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Vine Size Notes:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Red, Orange Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WY Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Que. to Man. & e. MT,
s. to GA
& WY Native Habitat:
Woodlands; bluffs; stream banks; rocky hillsides; thickets; fence rows; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
BenefitWarning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, seeds. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of conciousness. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Sow seeds in fall or stratify and sow in spring. Bittersweet can also be propagated by root cuttings, layers, suckers, hardwood and softwood cuttings. Treatment of cuttings is not necessary, but it may hasten rooting. Seed Collection:
Collect seeds as soon as the capsules separate and expose arils. Spread fruit
in shallow layers and allow to air dry for 2-3 weeks. Remove seeds by flailing or rubbing on a screen. Allow to dry another week. Store dried seed in sealed containers at 34-38 degrees. Seed Treatment:
Stratify for 2-6 months at 41 degrees. Commercially Avail:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Vines for shade in North-Central Georgia
August 07, 2009
I am looking for something to hide a 6' wood fence that will grow in almost full shade. I have an area approx 2 feet wide to plant in. Since the fence and planting areas are stepped -- about 8 feet f...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Westfield, WI
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff