Asian Bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus

Celastrus orbiculatus) [ USDA, Wikipedia, GoBotany, IPANE ]

Asian Bittersweet, the "northern Kudzu", is pervasive around Acton. This aggressive vine tolerates both high sun and deep shade, and can quickly overtop and girdle trees. While normally a climbing vine, it is woody enough to grow into a bush shape. In mature infestations, the vine may be over an inch in diameter and have a rough bark. Its bright red berries are eaten by birds and widely spread.

It is found on all Acton conservation lands.

Celastrus orbiculatus

Removal

Asian Bittersweet should be removed by uprooting when found. It has a distinctive orange root, and the main root/vine may run for twenty feet before reaching the main root cluster. If a vine can't be uprooted, it should be cut in several places. It will come back from the smallest root fragments.

Cleaned areas will require reclearing every couple of years.

Common Mis-Identifications

There is an American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) [ USDA, Wikipedia ] differentiated by a longer leaf and flowers/berries only at the end of branches. Unfortunately, it readily hybridizes with Asian Bittersweet (Flora Novae Angliae)

Native grapes such as Fox Grape (Vitis labrusca) [ USDA, Wikipedia ] and Summer Grape (Vitis aestivalis) [ USDA, Wikipedia ] have stems and leaves are distinctly different, but tend to grow in the same locations as Asian Bitterweet. Be careful not to remove them when removing the bittersweet.

Villach - Schillerpark - Baumwrger (Celastrus orbiculatus)

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