Celastrus scandens

Common name: Bittersweet

Native plant

The iconic woody vine of Illinois.  It grows up to 30 feet in length either up a vertical surface, along the ground, or climbing on itself, forming these wonderful curly tornados. It is best known for its bright fruit on the ends of the stems on female plants. You’ll need one male for every three to five females to get good fruit set. The bright yellow fall color and orange/red fruit are spectacular in the yard or in arrangements. Unfortunately, an invasive look-alike has steadily moved into the area and is sometimes sold as the native in the market place. Please be aware, the non-native is very aggressive, has fruit up and down the stem, where the native has fruit only on the ends of its stems. We have had our plants and seed source genetically tested, and they are truly native.


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Price Level: 
Woodies- Standard Shrub
Sizing Options: 
1 Gallon
5 Gallon


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Plant Details

Plant type


Soil type

Dry Mesic, Mesic (Not too Wet Not too Dry), Moist Mesic

Light exposure

Full Sun, Partial Sun / Part Shade

Bloom period


Urban environment

Uncompacted Urban Soils, Compacted/New Construction Soils, Road-side/Salt Tolerant


Floodplain, Prairie Grasslands, Sandy Soils, Savannas

Growth form

Shrubby/Clump, Vining

Growth rate


Flower color

Green White

Fall color

Yellow Orange


Mature height
20 Feet
Mature width
4 Feet
Max height
30 Feet
Max width
8 Feet

Additional information

Loved by birds

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Available Online:  32
Price:  $26.50


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