bittersweet, name for two unrelated plants, belonging to different families, both fall-fruiting woody vines sometimes cultivated for their decorative scarlet berries. One, called also woody nightshade ( Solanum dulcamara ), is an Old World plant now naturalized in North America, belonging to the family Solanaceae ( nightshade family). The twigs and stems are occasionally used medicinally for a narcotic poison similar to belladonna. The more popular bittersweet ( Celastrus scandens ), a plant of the family Celastraceae ( staff tree family), grows in thickets from Maine to North Carolina and W to Nebraska. Its berry is surrounded by an orange-yellow capsule. Both bittersweets are classified in the division
, class Magnoliopsida.
belongs to the order Polemoniales, family Solanaceae.
belongs to the order Celastrales, family Celastraceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-