Celastrus, commonly known as staff vine, staff tree or bittersweet, is a genus in the Celastraceae family which comprises about 30-40 species of shrubs and vines. They have a wide distribution in East Asia, Australasia, Africa, and the Americas.
The leaves are alternate and simple ovoid, typically 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long. The flowers are small, white, pink or greenish, and borne in long panicles; the fruit is a red three-valved berry. The fruit are eaten by frugivorous birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. All parts of the plants are poisonous to humans if eaten.
In North America, they are known as bittersweet, presumably a result of confusion with the unrelated bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) by early colonists. C. orbiculatus is a serious invasive weed in much of eastern North America.
- Celastrus angulatus Maxim. - Chinese staff vine
- Celastrus australis - Australian staff vine
- Celastrus dispermus - orange boxwood
- Celastrus flagellaris Rupr.
- Celastrus gemmatus Loes.
- Celastrus hindsii Benth.
- Celastrus monospermus Roxb.
- Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb. - Oriental bittersweet
- Celastrus paniculatus Willd. - peng
- Celastrus pyracanthus - South African staff vine
- Celastrus rosthornianus Loes.
- Celastrus scandens L. - American bittersweet
- Celastrus stylosus Wall.
- Celastrus vaniotii (H.Lév.) Rehder