Content Detail

Oriental bittersweet has been a popular plant for many years, but in Illinois, it is classified as a exotic weed and is illegal to sell. Unfortunately it has become invasive in many areas of the eastern United States and is no longer recommended.

  • Family (English) staff tree
  • Family (botanic) Celastraceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Season of interest early fall, early winter, late fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and method of climbing:

Oriental bittersweet is an extremely vigorous twining vine that can easily grow to the tops of trees.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to China and Japan.

Leaf description:

The simple, alternate leaf is fairly round in shape. The native species is more oval with a pointed tip.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small, greenish-white flowers borne in the leaf axils. Native bittersweet bears its flowers on the ends of branches. It is not showy..

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Capsules that open to reveal bright orange seeds in autumn. Fruit are borne in the leaf axils. Nnative bittersweet bears its fruit on the ends of branches. 

Plant care:

In Illinois, it is classified as a exotic weed and is illegal to sell.


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