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collage of American Bittersweet and Oriental Bittersweet

American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) vs. Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Updated July 25th, 2020

These species, one native, and one introduced and widely considered invasive, are similar in appearance and easily confused. They can be reliably distinguished by flower and fruit cluster arrangement, and sometimes, by fruit capsule color, leaf shape, or leaf serration pattern. Both species are variable in appearance, and looking at multiple characteristics is important. These species also can potentially hybridize; the rate of hybridization in the wild is unknown.

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