bittersweet

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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 nightshadenightshade,
common name for the Solanaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and a few trees of warm regions, chiefly tropical America. Many are climbing or creeping types, and rank-smelling foliage is typical of many species.
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 (Solanum dulcamara), is an Old World plant now naturalized in North America, belonging to the family Solanaceae (nightshadenightshade,
common name for the Solanaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and a few trees of warm regions, chiefly tropical America. Many are climbing or creeping types, and rank-smelling foliage is typical of many species.
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 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 treestaff tree,
common name for some temperate members of the Celastraceae, a family of trees and shrubs (many of them climbing forms), widely distributed except in polar regions.
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 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 MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida. S. dulcamara belongs to the order Polemoniales, family Solanaceae. C. scandens belongs to the order Celastrales, family Celastraceae.

bittersweet

traditional symbol of truth. [Plant Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 172]
See: Honesty

bittersweet

1. any of several North American woody climbing plants of the genus Celastrus, esp C. scandens, having orange capsules that open to expose scarlet-coated seeds: family Celastraceae
2. another name for woody nightshade