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Celastrus orbiculatus

Biological Category 
Species Type 
LHPrism Status 
Tier 4 - Widespread

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Impacts of this species 

Oriental bittersweet can grow in a wide range of environments. The species are very well adapted to a variety of environments, especially in disturbed areas. They use a 'sit and wait' invasion strategy to succeed in challenging locations. Bittersweet can survive in low shade area, but once there is a disturbance, natural or human-caused, it grows rapidly with sunlight and takes over forest canopies within three to four growing seasons. In this manner, the vine is very aggressive and threatens nearly all vegetation by monopolizing sunlight and preventing other plants from photosynthesizing. It kills plants by girdling them as they grow, removing bark around the trees that they grow on. The weight of this vine increases its likelihood of uprooting other plants as it grows. Bittersweet has also been observed to specifically displace native climbing bittersweet, as both species occupy the same niche. The fruits are appetizing to native birds, which further facilitates dispersal. Failure to control populations can lead to severe forest degradation.