When does this bloom?
May-June Aug-Sep (berry)
Where does this bloom?
242.4, 383, 394, 396
The defining characteristic of the plant is its vines: they are thin, spindly, and have silver to reddish brown bark. They are generally between 1 and 4 cm in diameter. When Oriental staff vine grows by itself, it forms thickets; when it is near a tree or shrub, the vines twist themselves around the trunk. The encircling vines have been known to strangle the host tree to death.
The leaves are round and glossy, 2-12 cm long, have toothed margins and grow in alternate patterns along the vines. Small green flowers produce distinctive red seeds. The seeds are encased in yellow pods that break open during autumn.
Before it was recognized as a destructive invasive species, Oriental staff vine was planted along roadsides to help control soil erosion. The orange-red berries and the vines that hold them are popular as holiday decorations.
Because of these uses, Oriental staff vine has taken over landscapes, roadsides, and woods. In the United States it can be found as far south as Louisiana, as far north as Maine, and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. It prefers mesic woods, where it has been known to eclipse native plants.