Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus ) is a deciduous, woody, perennial climbing vine-like shrub, which is a member of the bittersweet family. It is native to Japan, Korea, and northern China. It was introduced to the United States in the 1800s as an ornamental. Since its introduction, C. orbiculatus has become a noxious weed in many states throughout the U.S. C. orbiculatus is frequently found along forest edges, hedgerows, ﬁelds, disturbed woodlands and roadsides.
Oriental Bittersweet Toxic Components
All parts of C. orbiculatus are considered toxic to horses. The toxin is an unknown gastrointestinal irritant of horses.
What Oriental Bittersweet Looks Like
C. orbiculatus has round, glabrous, light to darker brown branches, usually with noticeable lenticels. The leaves are a deep green glossy color in the summer, which turn to a greenish-yellow to yellow in the fall. Between May and June, clusters of small, white-green ﬂowers emerge and August through September fruits ripen and change color from green to yellow. In the winter, fruits split open to reveal red-orange interiors. The seeds are very colorful and are often also sold as dried flower arrangements in craft stores and often sold by florists.
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Goats and sheep have been observed to effectively control infestations.
MECHANICAL CONTROL: Repeated cutting or mowing, where possible and appropriate, will suppress and eventually eliminate the plant.
CHEMICAL CONTROL: Season control can be obtained from 2,4-D (1 lb ae/acre), picloram (0.5 lb ai/acre), clopyralid (0.25 lb ai/acre), or metsulfuron (1.25 oz product/acre) applied from autumn to early spring before flowering when the plant is actively growing.