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Bittersweet 'American'

Plant Type: Perennials

Bittersweet plants can kill trees and are difficult ot eradicate from your landscape. But during the fall season bittersweet vines put on a display few other plants can rival, as the deep yellow skin of their berries bursts to reveal an orange jewel within. And not to be outdone by the berry, bittersweet plant's fall foliage blankets its victims in yellow splendor.
American bittersweet is a native woody and shrubby climber, growing over trees or fences. It has smooth thin leaves 2 to 4 inches long and about half as wide. The small greenish-white flowers are produced in June in short clusters. The fruit is a round, orange-yellow capsule which opens in autumn, disclosing the scarlet-colored seed pod. The seed capsules remain on the plant well into the cold season and provide food for birds in the winter. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, pheasants, bobwhite and squirrel. Old fruits are eaten as survival foods by many birds and animals in late winter. Fruits should NOT be eaten by humans.

Currently not available for online purchase.

Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Flower Color

Greenish white

Foliage Color

Green turning yellow in fall

Plant Spread

space 12-36 in. apart

Good Companions

Plant Height

up to 20 ft.

Scape Height

Hardness Zone

Soil Moisture

Characteristics & Attributes


Showy fruit and foliage, Climbing

Bloom Time

May to June

Critter Resistance


Full sun to part shade

Growth Rate

Seasonal Interests