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Q.American Bittersweet production

Zone 37725 | Anonymous added on September 20, 2019 | Answered

I planted two plants the fall of 2016. I believe I have a male & female. One plant has leaves that are oval/rounded. The other plant have leaves that are pointed at the ends. How many years does it take before berries appear? Am I incorrect on having a male & female plant? Thanks for your help.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 22, 2019

Yes, you do need male and female plants to produce fruit. The female flowers have a sort of swelling inside and the male flowers don't. Also, the male pollen is yellow. The leaves are long and thinnish. There is a newer cultivar that produces male and female flowers on the same plant so doesn't need the separate plants. I hope you have the American native vine and not the Asian bittersweet as it runs rampant and is considered a noxious weed. It has roundish leaves.
I couldn't find any sources that said it took years to fruit so I am thinking as long as cultural circumstances are right, it should fruit soon after the blossoms appear if it is pollinated. Here is more information on care:


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Answered on September 22, 2019

You are correct that both a male and female plant are needed for berry production. However, your description of rounded leaves sounds more like oriental bittersweet than American bittersweet. As you may know, the oriental species is a huge problem in the landscape and nearby woodlands. It is an invasive species and should not be planted. The difficulty is in finding true American bittersweet as there has been significant cross-pollination between the American and oriental species. The following article discusses how to tell the species apart. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_017307.pdf

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