These festive berries look pretty enough for a holiday centerpiece. Unfortunately, they belong to a noxious invasive plant, oriental bittersweet, celastrus orbiculatus . So as lovely as they are, resist the temptation to pick and transport them anywhere near your home (if you don’t already have it on your property–it’s known as the “kudzu of the north because it’s so rampant and pervasive). While it’s banned for sale in my home state, Connecticut, the birds feast on these fruits and spread it around anyway–no one has to buy it. The birds bring it to most of us!
Coincidentally, after this post was drafted & posted, the Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued this press release about avoiding the use of bittersweet in holiday displays. I was appalled to see several table decorations making use of it on BHG.com. They don’t know what they’re messing with!