Unknown Invasive Species

Asked June 27, 2018, 7:43 PM EDT

What is this horrible vine? It has taken over my Portage garden and has invaded West Lake Park! It starts off as tendrils that intertwine if there is another tendril close, it grows quite rapidly, and the entwined tendrils can reach quite far until reaching something (a bush, a tree, a wire) then covers it in vines that become woody in time. (Hopefully you can zoom in on my pictures)

Kalamazoo County Michigan

1 Response


Your close-up pic looks like American bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, a native, non-invasive vine. It can be aggressive, and, if growing around a tree, can eventually strangle the tree. It blooms only at the tips of the stems, mostly in June( may be earlier or later depending on spring weather) and is commonly found on rich, well-drained soils of woodlands. Here are some fact sheets on it.



Oriental bittersweet, a non-native relative is much more aggressive, is invasive; has a more circular shaped leaf, and flowers all along the nodes of the vines.

In your wide-shot pics I see several trees and some Virginia creeper as well as the American bittersweet. Prune back the vines and immediately paint the stumps with the strongest formulation of glyphosate you can get at the garden store. These are usually labeled as brush-killer type products. They kill everything they get on so be careful not to drip or paint something you want to keep. Please read and follow all label precautions and directions.

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