Iowa officials warn about vine used for wreathes


December 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials are asking residents to avoid a certain vine when decorating holiday wreathes. The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports the state Department of Natural Resources wants residents to avoid using the Oriental bittersweet vine. Officials say its viable seeds are capable of spreading the unwanted plant.

The woody vine that’s native to Asia has bright red berries along the length of the stem. The aggressive plant can either kill a tree or slow its growth by blocking light from the forest canopy.   Officials recommend using the American bittersweet vine that’s native to Iowa. It is similar in appearance to the Oriental, but its fruit is at the tip of the stem.