Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Celastrales > Celastraceae > Celastrus > Celastrus scandens

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet; staffvine; waxwork)

Synonyms: Celastrus bullatus; Euonymus scandens; Evonymoides scandens

Wikipedia Abstract

Celastrus scandens, commonly called American bittersweet or bittersweet, is a species of Celastrus that blooms mostly in June and is commonly found on rich, well-drained soils of woodlands. It is a sturdy perennial vine that may have twining, woody stems that are 30 feet (9.1 m) or longer and an inch or more thick at the base. The stems are yellowish-green to brown and wind around other vegetation, sometimes killing saplings by restricting further growth. It has tiny, scentless flowers at the tips of the branches. It has colorful, orange fruits that are the size of a pea. These fruits are poisonous to humans when ingested internally, but are favorites of birds. C. scandens roots were used by Amerindians and pioneers to induce vomiting, to treat venereal disease, and to treat symptoms of tu
View Wikipedia Record: Celastrus scandens


Height [2]  26 feet (8 m)
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 3 Low Temperature: -40 F° (-40 C°) → -30 F° (-34.4 C°)
Light Preference [1]  Mostly Shady
Soil Acidity [1]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [1]  Intermediate
Water Use [1]  High
Flower Color [1]  White
Foliage Color [1]  Green
Fruit Color [1]  Orange
Fall Conspicuous [1]  Yes
Fruit Conspicuous [1]  Yes
Bloom Period [1]  Spring
Drought Tolerance [1]  Medium
Edible [2]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [1]  High
Flower Type [2]  Dioecious
Frost Free Days [1]  3 months 20 days
Fruit/Seed Abundance [1]  High
Fruit/Seed Begin [1]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [1]  Fall
Growth Form [1]  Thicket Forming
Growth Period [1]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [1]  Rapid
Hazards [2]  The fruit is poisonous; All parts of the plant are potentially toxic;
Leaf Type [2]  Deciduous
Lifespan [1]  Perennial
Pollinators [2]  Bees
Propagation [1]  Bare Root, Container, Seed
Root Depth [1]  18 inches (46 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [1]  Moderate
Seed Vigor [1]  Medium
Seeds Per [1]  26080 / lb (57496 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [1]  Columnar
Structure [2]  Vine
Vegetative Spread Rate [1]  Rapid
View Plants For A Future Record : Celastrus scandens

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Algonquin Provincial Park IV 1868802 Ontario, Canada
Allegheny Portage Railroad Nat'l Hist. Site National Historic Site III 1152 Pennsylvania, United States
Badlands National Park II 178535 South Dakota, United States
Bluestone National Scenic River National River and Wild and Scenic Riverway V 3517 West Virginia, United States
Bruce Peninsula National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Catoctin Mountain Park National Park II 5994 Maryland, United States
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Hist. Park National Historical Park V 19586 Maryland, District of Columbia, United States
Chippewa Nature Center   Michigan, United States    
Colonial National Historic Park National Historical Park V 9316 Virginia, United States
Cumberland Gap National Hist. Park National Historical Park V 24282 Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, United States
Edwin S. George Reserve 1297 Michigan, United States
Gateway National Recreation Area V 1807 New Jersey, United States
George Washington Birthplace National Monument V 435 Virginia, United States
Georgian Bay Islands National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Gettysburg National Military Park V 3560 Pennsylvania, United States
Great Smoky Mountains National Park II 515454 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park VI 715 West Virginia, United States
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore II 8272 Indiana, United States
Lake Superior Provincial Park IV 351011 Ontario, Canada
Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve (Natn'l Park) National Park II 51235 Kentucky, United States
Morristown National Historical Park VI 1677 New Jersey, United States
Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve 470167 Ontario, Canada  
Obed Wild and Scenic River National River and Wild and Scenic Riverway V 5268 Tennessee, United States
Pipestone National Monument V 326 Minnesota, United States
Point Pelee National Park II 5764 Ontario, Canada
Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve II 762028 Manitoba, Canada
Rondeau Provincial Park II 5035 Ontario, Canada
Roosevelt Vanderbilt National Historic Site   New York, United States      
Saint Lawrence Islands National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Shenandoah National Park II 108221 Virginia, United States
Shiloh National Military Park III 4061 Tennessee, United States
Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve 37548505 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States  
Valley Forge National Historical Park VI 3509 Pennsylvania, United States



Apis mellifera (honey bee)[3]
Bombus fervidus (Golden northern bumble bee)[3]
Eutrapela clemataria[4]
Lepidosaphes ulmi (apple oystershell scale)[5]
Pleuroprucha insulsaria[4]
Samia walkeri[4]
Sciurus niger (eastern fox squirrel)[6]
Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird)[3]
Unaspis euonymi (euonymus scale)[5]
Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite)[3]
Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey)[3]
Odontopus calceatus (Sassafras weevil)[3]
Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel)[3]
Turdus migratorius (American Robin)[3]


Pollinated by 
Acanthoscelides obtectus (bean weevil)[7]
Agapostemon texanus[7]
Andrena nigrae[7]
Apallates coxendix[7]
Augochlora fervida <Unverified Name>[8]
Calythea nigricans[7]
Chloralictus versatus <Unverified Name>[8]
Coelioxys alternata[7]
Colletes aestivalis[8]
Cryptorhopalum triste[7]
Euthera tentatrix[7]
Hoplitis cylindricus <Unverified Name>[8]
Leionotus foraminatus <Unverified Name>[8]
Limnophora narona[7]
Microchrysa polita (Black-horned Gem)[7]
Opandrena cressonii <Unverified Name>[8]
Pemphredon inornata[7]
Sarcophaga sinuata[7]
Spallanzania hesperidarum[7]
Systoechus vulgaris (grasshopper bee fly)[7]


Shelter for 
Acrosternum hilare (Green stinkbug)[3]
Anaxyrus americanus americanus (Eastern American Toad)[3]
Cardinalis cardinalis (Northern Cardinal)[3]
Castor canadensis (american beaver)[3]
Micrathena gracilis (Spined micrathena)[3]
Microtus pennsylvanicus (meadow vole)[3]
Ondatra zibethicus (muskrat)[3]
Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse)[3]
Phanaeus vindex (Dung beetle)[3]
Pterophylla camellifolia (common true katydid)[3]
Sylvilagus floridanus (Eastern Cottontail)[3]
Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk)[3]
Tenodera aridifolia (Chinese mantid)[3]
Zonotrichia albicollis (White-throated Sparrow)[3]
Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite)[3]
Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey)[3]
Odontopus calceatus (Sassafras weevil)[3]
Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel)[3]
Turdus migratorius (American Robin)[3]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank


North America;



Attributes / relations provided by
1USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
2Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
3Study of Northern Virginia Ecology
4HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
5Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
6Sciurus niger, John L. Koprowski, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 479, pp. 1-9 (1994)
7Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
8Robertson, C. Flowers and insects lists of visitors of four hundred and fifty three flowers. 1929. The Science Press Printing Company Lancaster, PA.
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
Chippewa Nature Center
Edwin S. George Reserve, University of Michigan, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access