Invasive SpeciesOriental bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Julia DLWA
Peer reviewed by
Field Notes
I looked for bittersweet along a road that is the boundary of a DLWA property. I only found two plants, and it was interesting to note that one of them had much more fruit than the other. The plants lacked leaves, so that made it a bit harder to distinguish if I was looking at Oriental or American Bittersweet.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
The plant has bright red berries with broken yellow skins.
Photo of my evidence.
The plant is a vine with bumpy bark.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Celastrus orbiculatus
Common name:
Oriental bittersweet
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 44.237450 °
W -69.459980 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
West Branch Preserve
Trip date: 
Wed, 2009-12-23 13:00
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
Damariscotta Lake


Good job, Julia DWLA.

Your pictures were great! They made confirming your find really easy. The combination of the red berries (with yellow ovary walls) and the twisting vine are dead give-aways. The habitat is just where you would expect to find it.

Did you see any birds eating the fruits? I am curious as to which bird species are dispersing Oriental bittersweet.

Happy New Year.


Its hard to miss the red berries, even from afar. Your photo of the vine from a distance is very clear, and while beautiful, its chilling as well. It will be interesting to hear what the experts say about the difference in fruiting amount for each vine.

Was there some sort of a disturbance that allowed the vine to move in originally? Are there other occurrences along the fence? Lets hope no one decides to stop along that road and harvest the berries for a danger wreath!

Looks like a very established vine spiraling its way up and around those birches. Your photos show the power of these vines really clearly.

It'll be interesting to see in the springtime whether these plants have plans to expand their reach along the roadside. It would also be interesting to track the health of the birches.

Yellow skins tend to point to Oriental bittersweet (I think), but I'll be interested to hear what the expert thinks.