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Bittersweet is an ornamental climbing vine that is native to Eastern Asia. It was brought over to the United States in the 1860s and has been running rampant ever since. Hardy and fast-growing, the vines of the bittersweet plant mirror the warm colors of autumn upon reaching maturation. Reddish-brown creeping stems and leaves support clusters of tiny yellow flowers and orange bittersweet berries that usually bloom just in time for autumn floral arrangements in the Northeastern part of the United States.
Despite their destructive ways, bittersweet remains a popular fall decorating material. Bittersweet vines are not only eye-catching, but they are also versatile and pliable. They are easily bent to conform to almost any shape, allowing them to be effortlessly added to existing floral arrangements and wreaths as an accent, or to be used alone in construction of a free form autumn wreath.To decorate with bittersweet, begin by cutting the vines while the berries are still green if possible, and form them into wreaths immediately. If you wait until the flowers and berries are in bloom, the flowers and fruits may drop off while you arrange the wreath.
I have a love/hate relationship with this vine – but really I’d rather not have it around my property at all. This vine is killing my wonderful trees and other plants. It’s grows all over our property. We cut it down every year – it comes back stronger! This year we found a very large set of twisted vine roots and we cut them, we’re hoping that was the root and maybe next year it won’t be as bad.General Description: Asiatic bittersweet is a deciduous vine with alternate, simple, obovate to orbicular (round in shape) leaves with slightly toothed (crenate-serrate) margins (Dirr, 1998). Leaf apex has a slightly pointed tip (Dirr, 1998; Zheng, et al, 2006; Magee and Ahles, 2007). Asiatic bittersweet originates from China, Japan and Korea (Zheng et al, 2006; Huebner, Olson and Smith, 2006). (Source: www.ecolandscaping.org)
(8) Time of year of fruiting. Asiatic bittersweet flowers from May to June; flowers are a greenish-yellow color (Zheng, et al, 2006). Flowering time is the same as for common buckthorn. However, the fruiting period is quite long, beginning in July and lasting through October (Zheng, et al, 2006). Like other exotic invasive plants this species has fruiting periods that are longer than most native plants in the landscape which increases its invasion success.
1. Cultural Controls: Monitor or visually inspect your property for Asiatic bittersweet. Do this at least every June and September. As stated in Part II of IPM Control Strategies for Exotic Invasive Plants, prevention is a cultural control of great value. Do not plant, transplant, or encourage the planting of this species. Do not use this vine in the fruiting stage in holiday decorations particularly Christmas wreaths. Educating others (e.g. clients or neighbors) about the dangers of this pest is another cultural control of enormous value. (Source: www.ecolandscaping.org)