Celastrus orbiculatus in Lithuania
Celastrus orbiculatus (Celastraceae) is a fast-growing woody vine species native to East Asia (China, Central and North Japan, Korean Peninsula and Far East Russia). The species is invasive in North America where is has spread extensively in the eastern US and it has been observed to have impacts on native biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Birds and small mammals eat the fruit and spread the seeds. C. orbiculatus was introduced into the EPPO region for ornamental purposes in the mid 1800s and has since been recorded in a number of EPPO countries as an alien species (see https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CELOR/distribution). In Lithuania, C. orbiculatus occurs in six locations in southeastern (Paneriai and Viscoriai, Vilnius city), central (Vandžiai, Raseiniai district and Girionys, Kaunas district) and western (Babrungénai, Plungé district and environs of Palanga city) regions. From a study of four populations in Lithuania, it was found that all sampled individuals were monoecious, although with dominant either functionally female or male flowers. The species occurs at the edges and in forest habitats where it can form dense populations: in the Paneriai Forest, a dense stand with mature individuals occupies an area of 2 600 m2 (3 640 m2 including all recorded seedlings and saplings). The authors note that current climatic conditions are suitable for the growth, reproduction, and further invasion of the species in Lithuania and other parts of Europe. Increased public awareness of the potential negative impacts of C. orbiculatus is required in order to reduce the spread of the species from gardens into the natural habitat.
It should be noted that a risk assessment on C. orbiculatus for the European Union was published by Radboud University, the Netherlands with an overall risk score of medium.
Gudžinskas Z, Petrulaitis L, Žalneravičius E (2020) Emerging invasion threat of the liana Celastrus orbiculatus (Celastraceae) in Europe. NeoBiota 56, 1-25.
C. orbiculatus risk assessment: https://www.nvwa.nl/documenten/plant/planten-in-de-natuur/exoten/risicobeoordelingen/risicoanalyserapport-boomwurger