Of the season Mid fall (Oct 21- Nov 21) - full leaf colors - pods swaying in the breeze - darker days -
Oriental Bittersweet -vs- American Bittersweet Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) on the Oriental there are small clusters of 2-4 berries all along the stem Leaves are often rounder (but orbiculatus varies widely in leaf shape not always - not a good ID determining factor) Native to China, introduced to NAmerica in 1879 Vines can grow 60ft or longer and 4inches in diameter. When cut age rings are present. mixed hardwood forests, forest margins, fields, old homesites, and road margins. Showy YELLOW capsule that splits open to expose a crimson aril (‘berry’) Small, inconspicuous, axillary, greenish-white flowers bloom from May to early June. Oriental bittersweet closely resembles
American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). The main difference: Celastrus scandens has flowers and fruits at the ends of branches; Celastrus orbiculatus has flowers in the axils of the leaves.
American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) notice the placement of the flowers/berries; on the American they hang in terminal panicles (tips of branches) of 5-60 berries Green flowers bloom in June - easy to miss Sturdy perennial vine that may have twining, woody stems growing 30ft or lonnger annd an inch or more thick at the base. Can wrap around vegetation so tight sometimes killing saplings. Showy ORANGE (orbiculatus has yellow) capsule that spits open to expose a crimson aril. Strong grower but not as agressive as (C orbiculatus) Native to L48 Grows in most areas: roadsides, fence rows, woodlands, stream banks, bluffs - Sunn to shade, dry to moist well-drainned soils. All parts poisonus to humans - Upland gamebirds that eat the seeds or buds include the Ruffed Grouse, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Bobwhite, and Wild Turkey. Fox Squirrels and some songbirds eat the seeds to a limited extent (including the Robin and Eastern Bluebird). The foliage and stems are an attractive source of food to various mammalian herbivores, including the Cottontail Rabbit, White-Tailed Deer, and cattle. This species is becomming less common due to use in holiday decor and competition from C. orbiculatus
Hybridization A hybrid has beenn produced by a C. scanndens seed mixed with a C. orbiculatus pollen. This has resulted inn a reduced seed set (number of seeds in each red aril) and small infertile pollen.
Burning Bush, winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus) corky wings along branches, bright red leaves and red seeds in split capsules in fall introduced to the US in the 1860s for use as an ornamental shrub for landscaping
- one of the first plants to leaf out, one of the last to lose its leaves - flowers self pollinate - seeds are abundant and spread through birds. Often times beneath shrubs hundreds of seedlings can be found in what is called a "seed shadow". new growth also occurs by way of vegetative reproduction (new growth from a fragment of the parent plant) - Invasive - Considered an ecological threat to a variety of habitats including forests, scrublands, and prairies where it can form dense thickets, displacing many native woody and herbaceous plant species including many of the spring ephemerals. - It is slow growing but forms dense mats crowding out other species - although on many invasive species lists this plant is still sold in nurseries and used in landscaping (many drive-through restaurants use this plant in landscaping along the driveway) it will no longer be available for sale in Ohio as of 2023! - Similar species: Strawberry bush (Euonymus americana) aka Hearts-a-Bustin' which is similar in appearance but with green non-winged stems.