A tangle

Our two most vigorous invasive plant species, privet and oriental bittersweet, are wrapped into each other at Lake Cheston. A moment’s reflection from the perspective of a hungry bird hints at how these species manage to spread so successfully. Unfortunately, their fruits have no gastronomic value to humans, except when passed through a goat and turned to milk. Bittersweet, despite its appealing red color, is slightly toxic to humans but not to goats.

Their twining reminds me of the Bramble and the Rose.

4 thoughts on “A tangle

  1. David George Haskell Post author

    Robley, Beautiful berries, but the vines can be terrible. They smother trees. However, the goats really like ’em, which is also true of the other “exotics” — privet, multiflora rose, kudzu, etc.

  2. Stephanie Smith

    I have a tree (I thought) that looks very much like this privet vine on my property in southeastern NC. I’ve been trying to identify this tree without success. The vine/tree stands alone, and twists almost vertical with a thick trunk. Does privet ever grow free standing? The leaves and berries look very similar to the privet.
    Your earlier post on a beauty berry (sp?) branch helped me id some in October.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Privet can indeed grow to tree (small tree) size. They have rather smooth bark. If you send me a photo I can try to ID the tree for you (photo from afar and of leaves/berries would help). Glad to hear that you liked the beautyberry (Callicarpa) post. We still have a few old berries hanging on.


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