One of the very first posts ever, back in 2006, was one about Bittersweet, the plant.
I'm reminded every day the happy memories that associate with this unique twisty stem fall plant since I named my company Bittersweet. A name given to me by my sweet and soft spoken mom.
Soulful memories wrap around each and every button berry.
When I was a young girl, and right around this time of year, my mom would exclaim, "It's time to get the Bittersweet!" My dad would grab a handful of old newspaper, and some cutters, and our family would head over the hills and through the Missouri woods to locate the unique fall foliage. Mom had some secret spots, but usually those spots were along side the roads. Dad would park the car, and we'd get out and start cutting. Bundles of the orange berried plant was placed in the trunk on the newspapers, and when we got home, mom would gather her brown antique crocks and create a large bouquet. It was a tradition, Bittersweet hunting.
Bittersweet is native to Missouri and usually grows along side roadways. Typically, you won't recognize it as you roam along country roads until after the first frost, because the berries don't pop until after it gets pretty chilly. You should use caution if you are prone to getting poison ivy, as most always, the plant is close vicinity to a crop of bittersweet. I had this happen time and time again, even when I wore long sleeves and gloves. I finally learned from a good doctor, that you must remove the oil after being exposed, with soap and a washcloth. Then pretend you have dirty motor oil on your skin, and start rubbing like there ain't no tomorrow. So funny, once I learned this a few years ago, I've never had poison ivy! The washcloth is the secret, and remembering how hard it is to remove dirty motor oil. That is, if you've ever done that. I had, so I knew how to rub, rub, rub!
You can grow Bittersweet in Missouri! In fact, I have a dear, dear, customer that grows it on her farm. She offers cuttings of the plant. Thank you Leigh Ann.
If you decide to plant Bittersweet, you'll need a female and male plant. You can order small tender starts online. I've heard it takes awhile to get established, but don't give up. As with anything good, sometimes it takes awhile before you see results.
There are also a few varieties of the plant.
Mom used to strip the leaves off the twiggy vines before she created a bouquet, but if you set the bundles outside, and among-st the elements, they will slowly fall off on their own. I'm not patient in that way, so I always stripped them off like my mom did.
The bright orange berries will sometimes fall off the vine, and you should use caution around pets, as I believe the berries are poisonous. We always have had cats, and never experienced any issues, having said that.
I love no cost flower arrangements!
This time of year Missouri is abundant with Buck Eye, Bittersweet, Black Walnuts, and Fall Foliage. All ready for the picking!
Keep the faith...