Latin Name: Celastrus scandens
Facts about American Bittersweet:
Perennial Vine that blooms from May to June.
Height: 15 to 20 feet, Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Habitat in rich, well-drained soils of woodlands
Often wind around other vegetation—sometimes kill saplings by restricting further growth
Tiny, scentless flowers at the tops of branches; colourful, orange fruits the size of a pea
American bittersweet, native to central and eastern North America, must be distinguished from Oriental Bittersweet (C. orbiculatus), a troublesome invasive relative from Asia; as well as Eurasian nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), also called bittersweet, after which it was named by European colonists, who found a close resemblance between the fruits.
While the fruits are poisonous to humans and pets when ingested, they are a preferred food source for birds.
Bittersweet is used as a cover in gardens, and berry-laden branches are also collected as indoor decorations.
The roots were used by Native Americans for its medicinal properties to induce vomiting and treat some diseases.
Fruits are poisonous to humans and pets when ingested.