Joined: Aug 26, 2019 Last Active: Feb 26, 2021

Botany enthusiast. Ailurophile. Misanthrope.

Tit for Tat.

The most definitive means to distinguish between Celastrus scandens and Celastrus orbiculatus is to observe the position of the flowers/fruits on the plant. See: Michigan Flora Online & USGS & Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Del Tredici, P. 2014. Untangling the twisted tale of oriental bittersweet. Arnoldia 71: 2 –18. Links: pdf & html

Although rare, it is important to note that hybrids can occur between these two species of Celastrus. See the following paper:
Zaya, D. N, S. A. Leicht-Young, N. B. Pavlovic, K. A. Feldheim, & M. V. Ashley. 2015. Genetic characterization of hybridization between native and invasive bittersweet vines (Celastrus spp.). Biological Invasions 17: 2975 –2988. Link

BONAP U.S. County-Level Distributions for Celastrus spp: Link

There are about 40+ species of Celastrus worldwide, with a large number found in east Asia.
Celastrus species listed in Plants of the World Online
Celastrus in Flora of China @ efloras.org

There is nothing wrong in identifying a plant to just a family or genus. Diagnostic features for a species destination are not always present.

Useful links:
Plants of the World Online
Michigan Flora Online Key for Michigan flora but useful for the Great Lakes Region
Go Botany: Native Plant Trust Key for 1,200+ common native and naturalized plants in New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI)
The Biota of North America Program BONAP
Flora of North America


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