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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. 

Benefits

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.


Height
20-30 Feet

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Spread
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
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Sun
Soil
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
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Uses
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