Asiatic Bittersweet


Asiatic bittersweet is a deciduous, climbing, woody vine that can grow to lengths of up to 60 feet. Fruits are round and green when young and ripen to yellow and split to reveal red/orange berries that persist into winter. It is a vigorously growing vine that climbs over and smothers vegetation which may die from excessive shading. When bittersweet climbs high up trees, the increased weight can lead to uprooting and blow-over during high winds and heavy snowfalls. It can also fully wrap and “choke” trees and other plants, restricting their vascular systems and growth and killing them.

It can be dispersed widely and quickly due to birds eating the berries and spreading the seeds. People also use the vine for decorative purposes then discard them into the natural landscape which leads to further spread. It can also expand vegetatively through root suckers, quickly establishing thick patches that make mechanical management very difficult.


Asiatic bittersweet is most effectively controlled by recognizing its appearance early and removing isolated plants before they begin to produce seed. Hand pulling is effective in small infestations. Remove the entire root section or re-sprouting will occur. Manually cutting and removing vines can also be effective as long as care is taken to properly bag and dispose of seeds and plants. The ‘cut-and-dab’ herbicide method may be useful in deterring more profaned growth.