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Oriental Bittersweet is an Escapee

3aug10orbitter Oriental Bittersweet is an Escapee

by KYW’s Phran Novelli

Escapees can be very dangerous. One of the worst offenders is an aggressive alien plant called ‘Oriental bittersweet’ that you see smothering and strangling trees and shrubs everywhere. This invasive vine is an escapee – people thought it was pretty and planted it in their gardens – it has glossy green leaves, and gets loads of berries in the fall. Birds eat the berries and drop the seeds in the woods, along roadsides, and in your yard – so, now it’s all over the place.

‘Oriental bittersweet’ is so aggressive it chokes and blankets everything in its path; blocking out sunlight and killing our native trees and shrubs that are supposed to live around here. ‘Oriental bittersweet’ is hard to kill once it gets big, but small seedlings are easy to pull out. Click on the links below to see how to identify this escapee so you can help arrest it.

Learn how to identify ‘Oriental bittersweet’ (Celastrus orbiculatus) so you can stop it, and how to tell it apart from our native species, the threatened American bittersweet, (Celastrus scandens), at these links:

http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PDFs/bittersweet.PDF

www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/docs/plants/Bittersweet.pdf

(Photo by Phran Novelli: ‘Oriental bittersweet’ vine seedling winding its way up a fence.)

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