These berries and their plants are on sale right now. They are called Oriental bittersweet ( latin name: Celastrus orbiculatus) or Tsurumodoki in Japanese. Thunbis a deciduous woody perennial plant which grows as a climbing vine and a trailing shrub. The leaves are alternate, glossy, nearly as wide as they are long (round), with finely toothed margins. There are separate female (fruiting) and male (non-fruiting) plants. Female plants produce clusters of small greenish flowers in axillary clusters (from most leaf axils), and each plant can produce large numbers of fruits and seeds. The fruits are three-valved, yellow, globular capsules that at maturity split open to reveal three red-orange, fleshy arils each containing one or two seeds. The abundance of showy fruits have made Oriental bittersweet a must for use in fall ikebana arrangements.
This Oriental Bittersweet tree growing wild, was photographed at the Children’s Botanical Gardens in Yokohama.