Milan, Illinois
Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Seeds Shipped To Your Door

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plants, seed, culture

American Bittersweet Branches

BITTERSWEET FAQ          Culture          Commercial Culture

NOTE:  We only grow American, NATIVE, Bittersweet.  We do NOT offer any of the foreign invasive types.  Information on the invasive varieties can be found at the bottom of this page.

Plants: Click links below.


  • American Bittersweet (celastrus scandens)Pak of 25 seeds.     Item Number: 78820 


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  • Staff Vine Bittersweet (celastrus angulatus)

    Item Name: Angulatus Bittersweet Seed Pkt. Item Number: 78829


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Information on the other types of Bittersweet

Loesener Bittersweet

Celastrus  loeseneri or Celastrus rosthornianus

Also sometimes called "Asian Bittersweet"


Produces berries on both tips and along stems.  Berries will "shatter" after cutting if left through too many freezes before harvest. 

Very vigorous.  Can reach 40' if not kept in bounds.  Good for "grown-in-place" forms such as wreathes and basket handles.  Also used as a ground cover, but may become invasive if not kept in check.  Deer and rabbits will not bother this plant.  Male and female plants required for berries.   Not recommended

Chinese Bittersweet

NOTE:  This is provided as information ONLY!!

We strongly discourage you from growing this variety as it is VERY invasive!

Celastrus orbiculatus

NATIVE RANGE: Eastern Asia, Korea, China and Japan

DESCRIPTION: Oriental bittersweet is a deciduous, woody, perennial vine , which sometimes occurs as a trailing shrub. Also known as round-leaved  bittersweet, stems of older plants sometimes grow to four inches in diameter. Leaves of oriental bittersweet are glossy, rounded, finely toothed and arranged alternately along the stem.

Clusters of small greenish flowers emerge from leaf axils, allowing each plant to produce large numbers of seed capsules.


         Spring                            Summer                         Fall

At maturity, globular, green to yellow fruits split open to reveal  red-orange, fleshy pods that contain the seeds. These showy fruits have made oriental bittersweet very popular for use in floral arrangements. The careless disposal of these has led to the spread of this very invasive strain.

This plant is easily confused with our native American bittersweet vine (Celastrus scandens).  C. orbiculatus (Chinese or Oriental Bittersweet) is a climbing plant that can grow 40 feet or more in a tree and is capable of strangulation of that tree. The twining young shoots are equipped with a pair of small thorns (the kind that will "stick" you.) at each bud and are covered with round-oval leaves.

In autumn, the seed pods split open to reveal bright red seeds against a yellow lining. C. scandens (American Bittersweet) is similar in this respect, except its seedpods are orange inside, and does not have the small thorns. 

Identification by leaf appearance alone is not 100% reliable.  Leaf size varies from plant to plant and also by climate and growing conditions.  See the pictures below to note the difference.

  NOTE:  In MOST areas, this variety of Bittersweet is considered to be a noxious, invasive pest.

To destroy this vine, it is necessary to get All the roots as it will sprout up new shoots from missed root pieces.  Be sure you have made positive identification so that you do not destroy the native American Bittersweet as it is close to being an endangered species.

Chinese Bittersweet:  (Celastrus orbiculatus )

We DO NOT grow this strain due to it's invasive nature.

How to tell Chinese Bittersweet from American Bittersweet:




Natural distribution of native American Bittersweet Below: