American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)
American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) is one of the most ornamental of our indigenous vines. This deciduous, climbing woody vine is native to our area and is found growing in thickets, in stands of young trees, along fence rows and streams. Although it grows more profusely further north I have found it in the tops of timber that I have harvested. It grows vigorously and can kill shrubs or small trees to which it becomes attached merely by tightly girdling stems and branches. Windermere Farms & Apiaries has 900 running feet trained to a three level trellis system with plants at five feet centers. No synthetic chemicals are used in the production but since nothing of the plant is edible the bittersweet is not part of the organic program.
Bittersweet is a deciduous vine having male flowers on one plant and female on another; the two types must be near each other to produce fruit. In May or June, small greenish-white flowers open in clusters at the ends of branches. Bees are the main pollinators, although wind may also be involved. We sell gender specific plants on request. We do this by digging shoots from either male or female plants and tagging them when they are potted. Let us know by eMail how many you want and we will bring them to one of our markets.
Judy wrote Sept. 2012:
"Thank you for the bittersweet--bought some this morning from you and it´s the most BEAUTIFUL I´ve ever had! Can´t hardly take my eyes off of it :) Gorgeous."