American Bittersweet
Celastrus scandens
Family- Celastraceae, includes the Strawberry Bush and Climbing Euonymus


American Bittersweet is distinguishable from its close relative Oriental Bittersweet by the arrangment of its fruit bracts. Oriental Bittersweet only has fruit at the end of the stalk, while the American species has fruits at leaf bases. The Fruits are often used for decoration during the Holiday season.


Leaves: Alternate, Simple. Wavy- toothed or lightly Saw-toothed. Ovate. Usually with long-Pointed Tip, but not always.
Shiny Green top, Light Green underside. Around 10 cm long.
Lacks hair and thorns, Leaf at Angle to Twig.
Tiny Spikey Buds at Right Angle to Stalk.

Stalk: White spotted, sometimes Flaky

Flowers: Small, Greenish-White, blooming May to June.

Fruits: Orange-Coated, Red Capsules, can be seen September to December or longer.

Growing Method: Twining and Mingling Stalks, High Climber. Can Strangle other trees or plants

Location: A Very common vines, found near Goldfarb Library, Heller Graduate School, Sacchar woods,
Charles River Apartments and Woods.

Notice the strangling method of the Bittersweet.