Schisandra vs Oriental bittersweet
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kat
Posted on: October 02, 2012

I planted Schisandra "Eastern Prince" vine 4 years ago. Had fruit last year which had a soso flavor and I did not manage the time to make them into juice but now looking at photos of Oriental bittersweet, I think my schisandra may be the Celustrus . How can I tell the difference? If it’s the Oriental bittersweet I must dig it up and burn it as that is so very invasive. I know most shisandras are not selfertile and that Eastern Prince is selfertile and is a cross with something but I do not know what it crossed with

My berries have an orange husk that opens late in fall to reveal a bright red berry that has a seed. It has small flowers but I do not remember the color . It is a rampant grower like hardy kiwis and I cut it back frequently

Hope you can helpme identify the differences between the two.

It should be easy to tell the difference between the two. Oriental bittersweet has a husk which opens up to reveal the red berry. Here is a picture:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celastrus_orbiculatus_fruits.JPG

Schisandra chinensis does not have that husk:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schisandra_chinensis_2.jpg

From your description, it appears that you have oriental bittersweet, as you suspect. It turns out that oriental bittersweet is frequently sold as an imposter of something else. For example, the State of Indiana warns much of the material in nurseries that is labelled as American bittersweet (which is native and non-invasive) is in fact oriental bittersweet.

I don’t know much about the supposed hybrid ‘Eastern Prince’ but it is always listed as a variety of Schisandra chinensis. This suggests that it is probably a cross between two different lines of the species. Or, maybe, it isn’t a hybrid at all, and instead a selection from the species.





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