Nov 23 2009

Misguided Beauty

Published by at 7:30 am under Plants

Oriental Bittersweet fruit (photo by Dianne Machesney)
Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), native to Asia, captured the hearts of American gardeners in the 1870s.  What an ideal plant it seemed, with gorgeous red berries that appeared just in time for festive holiday decorations.

Unfortunately it escaped to the wild and is now an invasive vine that thickly covers our native plants.  It spreads easily because its fruit tastes good to birds and is now listed as invasive in 21 states and 14 national parks.  What a mistake!

And yet, it is beautiful.

(photo by Dianne Machesney)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Misguided Beauty”

  1. Peter Waksmanon 24 Nov 2009 at 9:14 am

    The bittersweet problem seems minor, now, compared to the Kudzu problem. Kudzu is now even choking out the bittersweet.

  2. Joanaon 25 Nov 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I came across this blog from pandionna’s blog and saw this. I remember this plant well from my childhood – my grandparents used to gather it in the fall out in the country (now the borderline-rural suburbs of a large Midwest city) not a mile from where I live now. It is beautiful plant – very poisonous – but not seen locally as much these days. Kudzu and honeysuckle (the latter, especially) are much more problematic now in the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky triangle where I live.

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