Celastrus orbiculatus

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Celastrus orbiculatus
Map of Oriental Bittersweet Distribution

Celastrus orbiculatus, commonly known as the Oriental bittersweet, is a woody vine of the family Celastraceae. It is native to East Asia, including regions such as China, Japan, and Korea. This plant is known for its aggressive growth and is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States.

Description[edit | edit source]

Celastrus orbiculatus is a deciduous, perennial vine that can grow up to 12 meters in length. The leaves are alternate, glossy, and round with finely toothed margins. The flowers are small, greenish-yellow, and appear in clusters. The fruit is a yellow-orange capsule that splits open to reveal red seeds in the fall.

Habitat[edit | edit source]

This species thrives in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and along roadsides. It prefers well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of light conditions from full sun to partial shade.

Invasive Behavior[edit | edit source]

In regions where it is considered invasive, Celastrus orbiculatus can outcompete native vegetation by forming dense thickets. It climbs over other plants and trees, often leading to their damage or death by shading them out or physically constricting their growth. This aggressive growth habit has significant ecological impacts, including the reduction of biodiversity and alteration of natural habitats.

Control and Management[edit | edit source]

Managing the spread of Celastrus orbiculatus involves a combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological methods. Mechanical control includes cutting and removing vines, while chemical control involves the use of herbicides. Biological control methods are still under research and development.

Uses[edit | edit source]

Despite its invasive nature, Celastrus orbiculatus is sometimes used in horticulture for ornamental purposes due to its attractive fruit and foliage. However, its use is discouraged in areas where it poses a threat to native ecosystems.

Related Species[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD