Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bitter Bittersweet

Yesterday I came across a nice amount of bittersweet plants, out along the forest edge. The orange and red berries on twisting vines make for a pretty seasonal decoration. It was only after I cut a few vines and got them back to the cabin that I realized my find was the non-native and invasive oriental bittersweet plant, not the rarer American bittersweet.

The most noticeable difference between the two plants is how the berries are located on the plant. As you can see in my picture of the oriental bittersweet, the berries are located all along the stems. In the American bittersweet, the berries are only at the end of each stem. The leaf shapes are also a bit different, but since the leaves are off by November, that isn't much help. The berries of this plant are still pretty, and I've placed a few stems on the outside of the cabin.

More leaves came off the trees last evening, so that this morning the forest looks like winter. Last evening was unusually warm. It felt moist ahead of the rain I'm getting this morning. I stood outside, long after dark, enjoying the feel of the warmth. Leaves dropped around me like the raindrops that would soon fall. There was no breeze to bring them down. It was simply time, and they fell. It sounded a bit like sprinkles of rain.

This morning, the rain is a cold one, and the leaves are ankle deep around me. Winter is not yet here, but it's getting close.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I didn't know there were two varieties of bittersweet. I have it on a trellis in my yard. I'll have to check to see what kind I have. Either way, it is pretty.

Anonymous said...

We have some bittersweet in my woods, but the fruits are so high in the treetops that I cannot see them well enuf to identify which kind we have.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne and Pablo,

I knew there was an invasive species of bittersweet, but had no idea that my bittersweet was the bad kind until I did some checking. It's a bit upsetting to find out that even a few miles from any lawn, this invasive species that is sold in many nurseries has, in fact, invaded my woods.