Sunday, November 4, 2007
11.01.07 BURSTING BITTERSWEET
One of the common "jungle" vines in the forest here is bittersweet. It twists around tree trunks or forms dense thickets. Our native bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, is being forced out of the ecosystem by a much more vigorous but very similar looking vine, oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus. The oriental version was introduced in 1879 as another unfortunate tool for fighting soil erosion. Bittersweet vines are covered with beautiful berries this time of year which are often used for holiday decorations. Bittersweet is poisonous.