Invasive SpeciesAsian bittersweet

Celastrus orbiculatus
FOUND by Lobster dog
Long Island
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Stephen Train
Peer reviewed by Stephen Train
Field Notes
I am happy because my teenage daughter jumped at the chance to go out in the woods exploring. I chose this mission because I heard there was bittersweet in the neighborhood, but I wasn't sure where. I looked in one spot and was unsure if it was there or not because of lack of berries. My neighbors were curious at what I was doing (I live in a very small town) and they pointed me in the right direction. It was very cold and windy. I saw houses and a lot of shrubbery. We are beside a cove near my house. It was mid tide, yet there are actually ripples on the water from the wind. We couldn't actually hear anything but the wind and each other. There was a faint smell of ocean as the salt sprayed with the bigger gusts. I wasn't surprised to find the bittersweet because I was guided by my neighbors. I was surprised that it was still so strong even in the spring/winter and that it could grow so close to the edge of our cove. I was glad to find a few stray berries hanging on with whisps of yellow shells to help with identification. I was also surprised by how it seemed to be taking over the whole banking. On one hand I was thinking how scary a plant can take over such an area with that much strength. On the other hand I thought,this might be a great plant to help stop the erosion of coastal areas.
A sketch of our study site.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
I found the remains of red berries and a hint of yellow skins.
Photo of my evidence.
The vines were very round,woody and bumpy. They were also very twisty.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Celastrus orbiculatus
Common name:
Asian bittersweet
Count of individuals: 
3/4 - Completely covered
Fruit (plants)
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.698265 °
W -70.147544 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
Vernon ave Long Island, ME
Trip date: 
Tue, 2012-03-27 17:48
Town or city: 
Long Island
Type of investigation: 
Species and Habitat Survey
Habitat Observations
Species diversity: 
Evidence of vectors: 
Dirt road
Walking trail
Tree canopy cover: 
Open to 1/4 covered
Soil moisture: 


While it's generally tough to tell native & invasive bittersweet apart (especially this time of year!), I think you've piled up enough evidence to support this being Oriental/ Asian bittersweet. The invasive growth pattern that you show and describe, and your mention of the remnants of the yellow ovary walls are big clues. I'm convinced!

Your field note tells a great story, and underscores the importance of neighbors and local knowledge. Sweet sketch to boot.

What a treat to have VS action on Long Island. I'm imagining your island filled up with VS map markers! Can't wait to see what you look for next.