Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet Vine Seed and Plants
Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Native Wild Flower Seeds & Plants for Home Landscaping & Prairie Restorations
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|Habitat||Bloom Period||Color||Height||Moisture||Plant Spacing||Lifespan|
|May June||fruit- Orange to red||climbing
3 - 20 feet
|average to moist||12 to 36 inches||perennial vine|
Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet Vine picture by cj
Click on picture for larger image
For other native wildflowers visit the seed/plant list
scandens American Bittersweet
potted plants are available,
$5.00 each plus UPS shipping. Please
contact us by email for shipping costs on potted plants
(please include your address and zipcode)
American Bittersweet Vine seed
1 packet - sold out of seeds
1 ounce - ---------
1 pound -
Celastrus scandens, American Bittersweet, is a twining climbing vine capable of a height of 20 feet but more normally found sprawling on fences. American Bittersweet fruits are produced in July - October and are 1/4 inch round fruits in hanging clusters 2 to 4 inches long eventually splitting open to reveal bright red fleshy seeds for a showy Autumn. American bittersweet prefers a sunny location and occurs throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The climbing growth habit of Celastrus scandens, American bittersweet makes it a valuable ornamental plant both outdoors and indoors. It is easily trained to climb walls, trellises, and fences. When added to existing shrub plantings, this twining vine produces excellent wildlife cover and aids in erosion control as well. The berry-like fruits of American Bittersweet are showy and provide winter food for wildlife species such as grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, and squirrel. Celastrus scandens leaves are alternate, dark green, oval shaped, and turn yellow before dropping in the fall. Native Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet vine is often confused with the weedy pest Oriental Bittersweet .
Other common names used for American Bittersweet include Climbing bittersweet, false bittersweet, climbing orange-root, fever-twig, fever-twitch, staff-vine, and jacob’s-ladder. American bittersweet is valued for its glossy green summer foliage followed by orange and red fruits and seeds. The branches with colorful berries and arils are used in dry flower arrangements and winter decoration.
false bittersweet, climbing orange-root, fever-twig, fever-twitch, staff-vine,
is valued for its glossy green summer foliage followed by orange and red fruits
and seeds, and several landscape cultivars are commercially marketed.
The branches with colorful berries and arils are used in dry flower
arrangements and winter decoration.
All parts of
bittersweet are reported to be poisonous, but songbirds, ruffed grouse,
pheasant, and fox squirrel eat the fruits.
The Menominee, Ojibwa, and Potawatami tribes of North American Indians
have used the inner bark as an emergency food.
Various parts of the plant have been used in decoctions and ointments for
a variety of ailments, including cough, intestinal, and gynecological problems.
from the seeds of the related species Celastrus
paniculatus, a shrub native to India, has been used medicinally in India for
centuries. The oil is used to
increase memory and facilitate learning. It
induces a feeling of well being and has reported aphrodisiac effects.
General: Bittersweet family (Celastraceae).
Native dioecious or partly dioecious, semi-shrubs or semi-shrubby vines,
forming low, thick stands from root suckers, clambering and climbing onto fences
and trees, broadly twining and sometimes reaching nearly 20 meters high, the
older stems becoming several cm broad; roots long, woody, bright-orange,
creeping, about 2-3 cm thick, with a thick, red or yellowish-red bark (the
medicinal part). Leaves are
deciduous, alternate, spiral or somewhat 2-ranked by the twisting of the stem,
glabrous, 5-12 cm long and about half as wide, oblong-elliptic to ovate or
obovate, acuminate at the tip, with small, rounded teeth, the petioles 1-2 cm
long. Flowers are unisexual (with
either the stamens or the ovary abortive) or rarely bisexual, fragrant, small
(ca. 4 mm wide), greenish-white or greenish-yellow, in clusters at the branch
tips, usually with 14-44 flowers per cluster.
Fruits are orange to yellow-orange, globose, 7-10 mm wide, with 2-4
cells; seeds 1-2 in each cell, each seed enclosed in a bright scarlet fleshy
The related and
invasive oriental bittersweet (Celastrus
orbiculatus Thunb.) is becoming more common than American bittersweet and is
attaining a similar geographic range. The
following contrast gives information for their separation:
mostly oblong-elliptic to ovate, 1.8-2.6 times longer than wide; flowers and
fruits 6 or more in panicles (irregularly branching)
at the branch tips. Celastrus
Leaves mostly obicular to suborbicular or broadly obovate, 1.2-1.7 times longer
than wide; flowers and fruits 2-3 in cymes (regularly
branching) in the leaf axils below
the branch tips. Celastrus orbiculatus
grows over the eastern two-thirds of the US (except for Florida), on the western
edge of the range from Texas and Oklahoma to Wyoming and Montana, and across
southeastern Canada from Saskatchewan to New Brunswick.
In rich or swampy
woods, or appearing weedy in disturbed areas in thickets, roadsides, field
edges, fences, and other disturbed sites. This
species flowers in late May through June and produces fruits in June through
The seeds are widely
distributed by birds, which accounts for the tendency of the species to occur in
disturbed habitats. Prechilling
apparently is required to break dormancy -- seeds stratified for 90 days at 5º
C., then planted in soil maintained at 20-25º, germinated at 71%.
Celastrus scandens, American bittersweet grows wild in woodlands, rocky slopes, along bluffs, and along fence rows from Georgia to Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and west to Ontario, Manitoba, and Wyoming. Plant Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet seed outside in fall/winter or give cold pretreatment.
Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet potted plants are available, $5.00 each plus UPS shipping
American Bittersweet Vine seed
1 packet - $2.50 + shipping
1 ounce - -----------
1 pound -
The map below shows areas where Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet vine grows wild but it can be planted and will grow over a wider area than shown. USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.
Use the chart below for shipping charges on Celastrus scandens Bittersweet flower seeds, to order copy the order form or email questions, comments & orders to firstname.lastname@example.org
The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different
sold out of ounce quantities of bittersweet seeds, small packets are available
subtotal for flower seeds
shipping charge for seeds
|seed orders up to $20.00 =||$3.00 shipping|
|$20.01 - $50.00 =||$4.00 shipping|
|$50.01-$100.00 =||$5.00 shipping|
over $100.00 = 5 % of subtotal
cuttings can be taken from terminal (tip) shoots that are soft and immature with
two or more nodes (the point on the stem where a leaf is attached). The 3-5 inch
cuttings, with leaves attached should be taken in midsummer, cutting squarely
across the stem just beneath a node. Remove the leaves on the lower half of the
cutting and dip the base of the cutting into rooting powder. Rooting powder can
be purchased at a nursery under a variety of names, for example: Hormex,
Hormodin, Hormo-Root, Rootone, etc. The best method of application is to spread
a little of the powder on a sheet of plastic or wax paper, dip the base of each
cutting in this, then shake off any surplus and plant the cutting immediately.
The cuttings can be rooted in potting mix of 2 parts coarse perlite to 1 part
double-pan technique is an easy and successful way of rooting cuttings. Use two
flower pots, at least 4 inches deep with one so much larger than the other that
when the smaller pot is set inside the larger one, there is a 2-inch space
between their rims on all sides. The inner pot should be clay, the other pot
plastic. Plug the hole in the bottom of the smaller pot with a cork and set the
pot inside the bigger one so their upper rims are level. Fill the space between
the two pots with potting mix and insert the cuttings. Water with a fine spray
and fill the inner pot with water.
the cuttings and pots with a clear plastic bag and place them in bright, but
indirect light. No further overhead watering is necessary. Sufficient water
should pass through the porous sides of the small pot to maintain the potting
mix in a moist condition. Keep the small pot full of water. If moisture collects
on the inside of the plastic bag, open it to provide a bit of ventilation. The
cuttings will produce roots in 2 to 5 weeks. Plant them outdoors in a protected
location, as soon as they're rooted.
cuttings, on the other hand, should be taken during winter when the plants have
no foliage. Include at least two nodes in the 6 to 10-inch cuttings. Make the
cuts squarely across the stem just below a node, then make a slant cut ½ to 1
inch above a node. The difference in cuts will aid in distinguishing between the
top and base of the cuttings when planting them. Dip the basal or square cut end
in rooting powder and plant them in a plastic flower pot filled with the perlite
and peat potting mix. Water the mix, then enclose the pot in a sealed clear
plastic bag. Place the pot outdoors on the north side next to the house and
check periodically to see that the pot hasn't tipped over or dried out. Frozen
condensation inside the sealed plastic bag is an indication that moisture is
present. Add a handful of snow to the pot and reseal if the bag is dry. The
cuttings will be rooted by May and producing leaves. Remove the plastic bag but
leave the pot in the shade for another week before transplanting the rooted
cuttings to a selected site.
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PO Box 522
Willow Springs, Mo. 65793
scandens, American Bittersweet Plant distribution map
complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
(http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.