Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Oriental Bittersweet is a deciduous, woody vine.  It can be found growing in woodlands, forest edges, grasslands, roadsides, hedgerows – essentially anywhere except in wet areas.  This species’ generalist approach means that Oriental Bittersweet has an increased probability of finding suitable habitat to establish and invade.




Here are some key features that may help to positively identify Oriental Bittersweet:

  • Leaves are alternately arranged, roundish, with finely toothed edges
  • Flowers are greenish-yellow, with 5 petals, and grow in clusters along the stem in leaf axils (where the leaf meets the stem)
  • Female plants produce bright red fruit with orange bracts (outer leaves)
  • Vine can grow up to 18m on tall trees
  • Extremely shade tolerant
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous

Oriental Bittersweet is considered a priority species for the PEI Invasive Species Spotters Network.  If you see this plant, please report your sighting.

PEIISC factsheet on Oriental Bittersweet