In 2015-2016, the Stamford Garden Club’s Conservation focus will be on the tremendous problem of invasive plant species which crowd out native plants, eliminating valuable food sources for many creatures. Different species of plants will be discussed each month.
The October species are Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)and Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata). Both of these vines will strangle trees, shrubs and other growth as well as block the sun from the forest floor where many native plants struggle to survive in increasingly dimmer light.
Oriental bittersweet leaves are often mis-identified as the shape often differs. The white to red berries are often used in arrangements during the holidays. The roots are usually salmon pink to red. Oriental bittersweet appears to be displacing the native, American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) . For more information about Oriental bittersweet please visit, http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/ceor.htm or visit Go Botany, the website of New England wildflowers: https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/
Oriental bittersweet leaves.
Porcelainberry’s beautiful white to purple berries are lovely in the fall but it also shades out young natives which are critical to the survival of many species. You will find a complete description of Porecelainberry on the Go Botany website: https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/ampelopsis/glandulosa/
For a complete list of invasive plants in Connecticut, please go to the University of Connecticut’s Invasive project website:
(All photos found on the Go Botany website)