Oriental Bittersweet

Oriental bittersweet is strangling and smothering plants and trees throughout Beverly Shores. It is prized for its vining stems and bright red berries. You can often see it made into festive holiday decorations such as wreaths, but as its seeds spread and germinate, it quickly grows to overwhelm native plant communities.

What?
Oriental bittersweet is a fast-growing woody vine that wraps itself around trees, shrubs and wires as it climbs upward to considerable heights.
Where?
You can find oriental bittersweet throughout the Beverly Shores island, with particularly impressive stands on Fairwater.
Danger!
From Michigan State University: “Someone should produce a horror flick about how Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) can single handedly strangle neighboring mature trees if left to its own vices. This woody vine grows rapidly and has a twining nature that clings to anything going up or down. It can easily climb trees up to 90 feet tall. As the plant grows in diameter, it literally chokes or girdles other plants that it is clinging to. Its rate of spread is a bit like a Jack-in-the-bean-stalk fairy tale and it has been observed covering half-acre wood lots in just seven to 10 years. Between the girdling growth habit and sheer weight, whole canopies of a forest can tumble down during the growing season or an ice storm.”
Control
Stop seed dispersion. Don't collect this plant and its berries for holiday decorations. Burning can help, though bittersweet will resprout from the root crown. Mowing doesn't work, so chemical control will likely be necessary. Treat cutsurfaces with triclopyr or glyphosate. Follow label directions.
Oriental Bittersweet ID

How to tell oriental bittersweet from American bittersweet

oriental bittersweet

Oriental Bittersweet in winter

oriental bittersweet

Oriental bittersweet leaves

ERG's Oriental Bittersweet Sightings in Beverly Shores

Find them throughout town, with large concentrations on West Fairwater and West Beverly.
Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group,
P.O. Box 667, Beverly Shores, IN 46301