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Chinese bittersweet (Celastrus rosthornianus)

Chinese bittersweet Synonyms: Celastrus rosthornianus var. loeseneri, Celastrus cavaleriei, Celastrus loeseneri

Common Names: Asian bittersweet, round leaf bittersweet, Japanese bittersweet, heavy fruiting bittersweet

Description: Widely planted as an ornamental vine, sometimes planted accidentally when mistaken for American bittersweet.

Habit: Perennial, woody climbing vine. Prolific producer of red-orange berries. Stems may reach 6 inches in diameter. Male and Female flowers usually borne on separate plants.

Leaves: Alternate, glossy, and round with a pointed tip and shallow-toothed margins, 2-5 inches long.

Stems: Growing up to 6 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Small, inconspicuous, 5-petaled, greenish-yellow flowers in clusters of 3-7 at leaf axils. Most plants dioecious.

Fruit and seeds: Showy, round capsules, clustered in leaf axils. Green in summer, yellow-orange in fall. Split open at maturity to reveal 3 red-orange, fleshy fruits, each containing 1 or 2 seeds. Dispersed by birds and small mammals.

Habitat: Found in forests, woodlands, fields, hedge-rows, and coastal areas.

Reproduction: Vegetatively from root sprouts or by seed.

Similar species: American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) has fewer, larger clusters of fruits or flowers, which are terminal rather than at leaf axils. Leaves are less rounded and nearly twice as long as wide. Hybrids can occur.

Monitoring and rapid response: Dig out or hand pull seedlings. Basal bark with triclopyr ester plus a surfactant, cut stem treatment with glyphosate or triclopyr amine or foliar spray with triclopyr ester or triclopyr amine plus a non-ionic surfactant have all been successful.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Chinese bittersweet

Scientific Name:

Celastrus rosthornianus







USDA Symbol: