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Common Name: Oriental Bittersweet
Celastrus orbiculatus is a deciduous climbing shrub with stems up to 12 metres long.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of fibre. The young shoots are harvested in the spring and sold as a food in local markets in Korea[
]. The plant is often grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a hedge.
N.E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Thickets on grassy slopes in lowland and mountains all over Japan[
]. Forest edges in China[
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The plant is hardy to about -25°c[
Prefers a deep loamy soil[
] but succeeds in most soils so long as they are not too shallow[
]. Succeeds in full or partial shade[
]. Plants flower more freely if their top-growth is in the sun[
]. Requires a humus-rich soil if it is to be at its best[
A very ornamental plant[
A rampant climber, it requires ample space and is best grown into an old tree[
, 200. It climbs by means of twining and also by the young stems having prickles[
]. Plants do not normally require pruning[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Plants are usually dioecious, in which case male and female plants must be grown if seed is required, but hermaphrodite forms are in cultivation[
Young leaves - cooked[
]. The young shoots are harvested in spring[
The roots, stems and leaves are antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, depurative and tonic[
]. A decoction of the roots and stems is used internally whilst the crushed fresh leaves are used for external applications[
]. The plant is used in the treatment of paralysis, numbness of the four extremities, headache, toothache, spontaneous abscess formation and snake bites[
Many plants in this genus contain compounds of interest for their antitumour activity[
A fine fibre is obtained from the bark[
Used as a hedge[
Seed - gather when ripe, store in dry sand and sow late winter in a warm greenhouse[
]. Three months cold stratification leads to a higher germination rate[
]. Remove the flesh of the fruit since this inhibits germination[
]. Germination rates are usually good[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Layering in August of the current seasons growth. Takes 12 months[
Root cuttings, 6mm thick 25mm long in December. Plant horizontally in pots in a frame[