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Celastrus scandens

American Bittersweet /

American Bittersweet is a beautiful, climbing vine that is not to be confused with the invasive Asiatic Bittersweet (c. orbiculatus). June flowers are understated but the bright, orange-red fruit in autumn is gorgeous. It is commonly used in fall floral arrangements fresh or dried. Birds love the fruit and so do grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, and squirrel. Provides quick cover for trellises and walls and can also be used to camouflage rock piles or old stumps. 


  • Not to be confused with the invasive Asiatic Bittersweet
  • Stunning orange-red berries, great for floral arrangements
  • Birds love to dine on the bright fruits
  • Fast growing, perfect for a trellis
  • Winter food for grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, and squirrel

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grows best in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Prune in late winter to early spring if nessisary. Mature vines require little pruning other than removal of dead or excess growth.

20-30 Feet


20-30 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Forest or natural area on rocky slopes and deciduous forests from Montana to Maine and south to Texas and Georgia

Native Trivia

In the 1700s, this vine was given the name Bittersweet by European colonists because their showy fruits closely resembled the fruits of a Eurasian nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) that was known to them as Bittersweet back in their native lands.

You will need both male and female plants to produce fruit. 

"We love the berries but so do grouse, pheasant, quail and rabbits!"

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Vines
  • Filtered Shade
  • Sun
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Mammals
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Early Spring
  • Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Songbird
Native Habitat
  • Forest
Foliage Color
  • Dark Green
  • Accent
  • Climbing, trailing
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Hedge, screen
  • Naturalizes
  • Ornamental fruit
  • Specimen
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming