Flowers: small; imperfect; growing in raceme-like clusters. Petals, sepals, and stamens: five. Pistil: one. Fruit: orange-red; of three rounded divisions that burst open and display the seeds within. Leaves: alternate; oblong; thin; toothed; smooth. A shrub, twining; woody.
In common with cat-tails; the silky pompons made from milkweed pods and numerous sedges; the exquisite berries of the bitter sweet have appealed loudly to the decorative instincts of housewives. How clearly they recall to mind the squareness and regularity of some country parlour; and how strikingly giddy they appear in contrast to the sombreness of their surroundings, as they droop over the crayon of some cherished relative that hangs on the wall. We prefer to see them clambering over the stone walls and mingling in the thickets along the roadsides, where they are perhaps more generally admired than any other of our late season berries.