Connecticut Plants
American Bittersweet
Celastrus scandens L.

American bittersweet has become uncommon in Connecticut. By far the most common bittersweet in the state is Asian bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus).

  • Family: staff tree (Celastraceae)
  • Habitat: sunnny roadsides, thickets, rocky slopes
  • Height: climbing stems may be up to several yards long
  • Flower size: less than 1/4 inch wide
  • Flower color: pale yellow-green
  • Flowering time: May to June
  • Origin: native

Buds and one flower of American bittersweet. This plant is a particularly fine example of American bittersweet, in that it has large clusters of flowers only at the ends of stems. In contrast, oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) has two or three flowers above each leaf in stretches along the stems. Photographed in Bruce County, Ontario in early June.

Flowers of bittersweet, photographed in Warren County, New York in early June.