Invasive SpeciesAsian bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus
NOT FOUND by 18Elt
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Mrs.H
Peer reviewed by KB
Field Notes
Groups in our class are doing an investigation on the plant life in a certain area around the school campus. Each group was assigned a 4 x 4-meter transect in which we were to identify the plant and study it to see if it was native or invasive while taking notes. On the day we went out to study, it was mid-September and about 70 degrees and mildly humid. The environment around us consisted of a road that was the divide between a developed area and forest environment. Along the edges of the road and trail, the vegetation was limited, but a few meters in it became dense and somewhat habitable. In our space, there were a few consistent plants, not a lot of variety, and the ground was rocky with a bed of pine needles and leaves layering on the soil. We were looking for Asian Bittersweet, also known as the Celastrus Orbiculatus, invasive to Maine. It was not located our confined space specifically, the plant that did appear that was thriving was the Glossy Buckthorn. The leaves of this are similar to the Asian Bittersweet but don’t grow off a woody vine. One of the reasons why the Asian Bittersweet wasn’t there was because of the lack of larger vegetation for it to coil around to reach the required sunlight that it wouldn’t obtain otherwise on the forest floor. The Glossy Buckthorn ranged from about ¾ of a meter to a meter and a half off the ground. This invasive species dominated the space, I don’t think this plant is beneficial to the ecosystem that has been formed. A species we did find was the Red Oak tree, native to Maine. The Red Oak I found was very young based on the width of its trunk, I was surprised it was able to grow as much as it did considering there was a canopy of greater trees covering on top of it. I was able to identify this as an oak fairly easily because of its general shape and structure. This deciduous tree had not yet started changing color as it would in a months time, it was a vibrant green tone with a glossy coating on top. Along the Red Oak on the ground was lots of small plants beginning to take shape but was an unclear structure. These may be seeds from the red oak trying to grow, undoubtedly they will not be able to grow there from the lack of space, based on my observations.
A sketch of our study site.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
We did not find the Asian Bittersweet in our transect. However, we did find plants that look similar to it. The Glossy Buckthorn is an invasive species that could be easily mistaken for Asian Bittersweet. In this photo, you can see the Buckthorn has a wavy edge to it but is smooth all over, the leaves are both very different.
Photo of my evidence.
An easy way to identify the Asian Bittersweet is to notice it has a rounded leaf top. Also Asian Bittersweet grows off a woody vine, and the Glossy Buckthorn grows upward and outward on a stem, because of this, it can easily take over an entire area. The Asian Bittersweet most likely wasn't growing in this area because of the lack of larger structures for it to coil around and support itself.
Photo of my evidence.
The Asian Bittersweet and Glossy Buckthorn are both are invasive plants that grow rapidly and can take over an area with great density. Notice how the ground only has other small vegetation around it because of the lack of space. This is because they can't compete for the nutrients and resources it needs.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I did not find it
Scientific name:
Celastrus orbiculatus
Common name:
Asian bittersweet
Sampling method: 
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.736712 °
W -70.275310 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
2018 School Site Forest Edge
Trip date: 
Thu, 2018-09-13 07:26
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
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