Monday, March 9, 2015

Bittersweet

Celastrus

Celastrus flagellaris
A deciduous, twining vine, reaching up to 25 feet, that is native to bottomland forests in northeastern Asia ( from far eastern Russia; south to northeastern China, Korea and Japan ).
The toothed, elliptical leaves are up to 2.4 x 1.8 inches in size. The foliage is mid-green.
The tiny flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by rounded, capsules up to 0.3 inches wide.
Hardy zones 2b to 7.

Celastrus orbiculatus ( Oriental Bittersweet )
A very vigorous to invasive, deciduous, twining vine, reaching up to 40 feet, that is a widespread native to temperate eastern Asia ( from central China to Manchuria to Korea and most of Japan ) but now naturalized over much of eastern North America. Unlike the native American Bittersweet; this one is considered a noxious weed in much of eastern North America where it should never be planted.
The oval to nearly rounded leaves are up to 5 x 3.5 inches in size. The glossy mid-green foliage turns to bright yellow during autumn.
The tiny flowers are borne during early summer.
Female plants bear orangish-red, rounded, capsules, up to 0.5 inches wide, during autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 7, thriving at least as far north as the Ottawa Valley in eastern North America. It was root hardy but suffered winter dieback in trials at Indian Head, Saskatchewan and Brandon, Manitoba.

* photo taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on Oct 24 2014 in Columbia, MD
* photo taken on Nov 4 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken @ Middle Patuxent, Clarksville, MD on Apr 24 2015

* photos taken on May 3 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on Mar 31 2016 in Catonsville, MD

* historic archive photo


Celastrus rosthornianus
A deciduous, twining vine, reaching up to 23 feet in height, that is a widespread native of temperate China. It is less invasive and slower growing than Celastrus orbiculatus but may still grow at rates up to 5 feet per year.
The elliptic to obovate leaves are up to 4.5 x 2.5 inches in size. The foliage is glossy deep green above, pale green beneath; turning to bright yellow during autumn. The foliage is thicker than that of Celastrus orbiculatus.
The tiny greenish flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by red capsules, up to 0.3 inches wide. The fruits ripen during early autumn and persist well into winter.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Celastrus scandens ( American Bittersweet )
A twining, deciduous vine, reaching up to 33 feet in height, that is native to open woodlands and bottomlands in eastern North America ( from southeast Saskatchewan to Kenora, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario to Batchewana, Ontario to Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, Ontario to Haliburton, Ontario to southeast Quebec to New Brunswick; south to western Oklahoma to far northern Georgia to the Virginia tidewater...it is also found locally at North Bay, Ontario and along the Ottawa River between Chalk River and Ottawa ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was very abundant along the Canard River Valley, around Point Pelee, the Lake Erie islands as well as the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It was also abundant at Detroit during that time. It is useful for covering fences and sturdy trellises. It is declining in eastern North America due to competition with the much more invasive non-native Celastrus orbiculatus.
The finely-toothed, oblong to rounded leaves are up to 5 x 2.5 inches in size. The foliage is glossy mid-green, turning to bright yellow during autumn.
Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants so female plants will only produce berries if a male plant is present nearby.
The showy, large, intense orange-red berries, up to 0.4 inches wide, are borne on dense racemes, up to 4 inches long, at the stem tips. They ripen early autumn, persisting into early winter. The berries are double the size of C. orbiculatus and are an excellent food source for wildlife.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on fertile, moist soil. It is heat, drought and salt tolerant.

* photo taken on July 11 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Wash., DC

* historic archive photo


'Autumn Revolution'
Similar to speciesd but is self-fruitful with abundant large fruits borne on large clusters.
The leaves, up to 4 inches in length, are deep green, turning greenish-yellow during autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 8, it thrives in the Upper Midwest including Minnesota.

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