Weed of the Week #6 – Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus: Celastraceae)

Before spring officially starts I thought I would add a weed that is most conspicuous during the winter. Oriental bittersweet is most easily identified when it set its fruit because they are often used in flower arrangements and holiday decorations. But behind its pretty fruits sits a very sinister plant. Oriental bittersweet has become quite the pest in NYC’s natural areas; on a walk at Dead Horse Bay earlier this winter I spotted quite a few bittersweet vines strangling native trees and shrubs.

Where It’s From: Northeast Asia

Where It’s Found: Disturbed areas

Where To Find It: Chain-link fences and stone walls; as well as climbing small trees and shrubs

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