Celastrus scandens
Common name: 
American Bittersweet
Climbing Bittersweet
sel-LAS-trus SKAN-denz
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous vine or vine-like shrub, to 20 ft (6 m) or more if there is something to climb on.  It lacks tendrils or aerial roots.  Leaves simple, alternate, ovate to oblong-ovate, 5-10 cm long, base wedge-shaped, tip acuminate, margin minutely serrate, glossy dark green; petiole 0.5-2.5 cm long; fall color greenish-yellow to yellow.  Flowers primarily dioecious - male and female plants- yellowish white, not showy, in 5-10 cm terminal clusters.  Fruit subglobose, about 8 mm across, yellow to bright orange with orange-crimson seeds.
  • Sun or light shade, does well on most well-drained soils.  Must have both male and female plants to produce abundant fruit.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 2         Native to Canada, New Brunswick, Quebec to Manitoba, and most of the U.S., from the Atlantic coast (except Florida) west to the Central Plains States (N. Dakota to Texas) as well as Montana and Wyoming.
  • scandens: climbing.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, summer fruiting

    plant habit, summer fruiting

  • leaves and young fruit

    leaves and young fruit

  • leaf and immature fruit

    leaf and immature fruit

  • plant habit, fall fruiting

    plant habit, fall fruiting

  • leaves and ripe fruit

    leaves and ripe fruit