Bittersweet - telling the sexes apart

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by vcallinan, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. vcallinan

    vcallinan Active Member

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    East York, Ontario
    Hello, I have 2 Bittersweet vines, an unknown 5 year old male and a 2 year old female "CELASTRUS orbiculatus Diana". The leaves are SO hard to tell apart. On the male - one branch will have both pointed and completely round leaves, changing from one to the other along the branch - and on some male branches not a pointed leaf to be seen. On the female, there are no pointed leaves at all. I ventured inside the mass of tangles and did a major pruning job but boy was it difficult to tell the two apart. I had to try and follow the vines - the berries were a giveaway for the girl. Are there any other ways to pick them apart? Do they both have little claw-like hooks? It didn't give up without a fight!

    Many thanks.

    PS. I've recently read that it's a terribly invasive vine - however in the 4 years since the male was planted, I've seen only one sprout. Am I just lucky or does it need a few years to take over the neighbourhood?
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You appear to have something else - Bittersweet (scientific name Solanum dulcamara) is monoecious with perfect flowers (both sexes in the same flower)
     
  3. vcallinan

    vcallinan Active Member

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    Hi Michael, thanks for the response.
    That's the purple flowered vine with red poisonous berries (weed). But the vine I have has white flowers and orange berries. The female-looking branches on the male plant have never made berries, although, I haven't checked if they flower. The male-looking branches do flower.
     
  4. whistler

    whistler Member

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    Hi,
    Regardless, figuring out the sexes, its not a plant to encourage. Oriental bittersweet can be both dioecious and monecious and can also hybridize with the american bittersweet. It usually has axillary inflorescences, thuogh are sometime terminal in the male. Get rid of it!!
     

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