American Bittersweet Bonsai?

Njyamadori

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So I’ve been finding like 20 bitter sweet vines near me. Should I try to collect them or make cuttings of them? Also I can’t find any inspiration pics of American bitter sweet bonsai .
 

Jluke33

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if you google the scientific name "Celastrus orbiculatus" and "bonsai" you get a few hits on google images. the general response on here to my questions like this are: "go for it". if it's free material you only have time to lose and knowledge to gain
 

Njyamadori

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Also when is the best time to take them out of the ground ? Or can I do it now ?
 

HorseloverFat

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Also when is the best time to take them out of the ground ? Or can I do it now ?
You’re going to most likely want to wait until partial thaw... catch them when they are re-distributing their resources, but BEFORE bud-break... I start my spring collecting in late February.

:)

Oh! And young(ER) specimens will try to “fill” available space with “clones”... you’ll have to stay on top of it, plucking them out, until they decide on enough “points of growth” off of the top..
 

HorseloverFat

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I found SOME pictures.. just of the “Nightshade”
April
AE89FFC8-1A49-4035-B7B1-3FEB5EA48EB6.jpegJune556764CE-8C7A-4A81-97E6-A7D3E1AB968A.jpeg
August (last available picture)
C263DA62-FDD0-486F-AED9-A0FC14778536.jpeg
and truth be told..this specimen was just collected “cause it was there”... I SHOULD’Ve looked for a better one... but that was my first collection season.

🤓
 

Njyamadori

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Can you do trunk chops on these even if is no buds at the bottom ? I’m not gonna do it today or this month but I found a thick tree and like 8 feet tall . It’s probably 3-4 ish inches thick
 

HorseloverFat

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I’ve never had a problem with backbudding on Celastrus scandens. Or nightshade.. they are designed to COVER...

If you choose to collect soon.... seal the wound well, protect from freezes and cross your fingers.
🤓

(I still recommend late winter/early spring)
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Celastrus orbiculatus - oriental bittersweet - common throughout urban, suburban and disturbed habitats in North America, invasive weed. Good for bonsai
Celastrus scandens - American bittersweet. - the native Celastrus - not common, chances are fair any "wild" Celastrus you find it will be the invasive C orbiculatus rather than C scandens.

Solanum dulcamara - Bittersweet Nightshade - is not at all related to Celastrus. Does not form "true wood", its woody tissue is very brittle once developed, more like an herb, like rosemary or thyme. Issues are similar to bonsai chiles, or bonsai tomato plants.

I think I still have a stump of C orbiculatus in the back yard, it is under snow, so I can not check. When you collect them, find the largest diameter vine you can. You only need to collect the 6 inches or so of the vine and a small amount of root. They are vigorous and tough. At least the invasive it tough. The bright yellow roots are a tip off that you have a Celastrus. They are a vine, but do form true wood, with tree rings that you can count. They do not ramify easily. Initially you prune back hard in early spring, then let grow out until many feet long. Prune back hard again, repeat, each time adding only an inch or two to the "permanent" tree, removing almost all but an inch or two of the previous year's growth each spring. Eventually you end up with something cool.

Both photos attached are not my trees. Both are Celastrus orbiculatus and both are Shohin size, less than 10 inches, probably less than 8 inches from top of the pot to top of the tree. The first is from a Gafu-ten 2015, from "Andy's Shohin Blog", though I forget Andy's full name. The quality of the pot is of note, from a famous potter. If you search the archives at Jonas Dupuich's blog, Bonsai Tonight, and possibly the archives of Michael Hagedorn's blog, Crataegus, I believe one of them will have an article on Celastrus. William Valavanis has written about Celastrus also, you might search his blog at International Bonsai.

Bittersweet-exlnt pot-Gafu-ten2015-Andys Shohin Blog-img_2464 (2019_10_20 19_42_16 UTC).jpg

Next photo is from Tae Kukiwan 2007, honestly I forget who owns the image, or what the real name of this show is, I might have misspelled the name of the show.

bitteraweet-shohin-tae-kukiwon-07 (2019_10_20 19_42_16 UTC).jpg
 

vedecx

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FYI, at least in my area, bittersweet is invasive and it is technically illegal to cultivate, transport or grow... That said the vines can get enormous...
 

lieuz

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I don't recall them being any different, my friend has a scandens and I have an orbiculatus and the main difference I notice on mine vs on his are where the berries form. His scandens forms berries on the tips while my orbiculatus forms berries pretty much all along the branch.

3881512+1216GardenerBittersweet.jpg

I'm thinking you can derive quote a bit of inspiration from either and if you can't find any in the scandens front, the orbiculatus is just as good.
Heres mine. Interestingly enough, the way I have mine styled would probably be quite attractive as a scandens with all the negative space to the right.

91740409_3227782100574268_6403549282647820286_n.jpg
 

HorseloverFat

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I’ve heard the fruit is poisonous to pets.
Depending on which one.. Solanum dulcamara which is the “Bittersweet NIGHTSHADE” is the stereotypical “Red, poison berry” warned of... i believe it’s only 2 berries is possibly fatal to children around 80 lbs...

I USED to know the LD50 of the active poison.. back when I was “Sherlock Holmes”ing. 🤓

but that’s not Celastrus.
 

Njyamadori

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FYI, at least in my area, bittersweet is invasive and it is technically illegal to cultivate, transport or grow... That said the vines can get enormous...
Also I don’t think a cop would come up and check the plant I’m taking . I couldn’t find if it’s illegal or not but I do see that my cop neighbor has it in his yard
 

Njyamadori

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Hehe.. you’d be surprised!

🤣

Be careful!

Senno Octogammet

Getting permission is easier.
I’d ask the neighbor for SURE!
I can’t see if it’s illegal or not. I’m just gonna take them and see what happens . Or if you guys know how I can find out that would be awesome
 

HorseloverFat

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I meant like location-wise.. always ask permission. 🤓

I collected all these this last fall.. just asked.. never had any trouble.


It seems like Jersey considers them a nuisance... I bet DNR would LOVE for you to dig them.


But you could always give them a call... they are good friends to have.. all the DNR Marshalls/Wardens know me around these “necks of the woods”.. literally 🤣.. same with a GOOD chunk of property managers.. if you are polite, and respectful, they are much more likely to be cooperative....and possibly help you out in the future.
 

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