13. Celastrus orbiculatus Thunberg in Murray, Syst. Veg., ed. 14. 237. 1784.
南蛇藤 nan she teng
Celastrus articulatus Thunberg; C. articulatus var. pubescens Makino; C. jeholensis Nakai; C. oblongifolius Hayata; C. tartarinowii Ruprecht.
Deciduous twining shrubs; branchlets glabrous, gray- brown or brown, with sparse and inconspicuous lenticels; axillary buds small, ovate to elliptic, 1-3 mm. Petiole slender, 1-2 cm; leaf blade generally broadly ovate, suborbicular, or rectangular-elliptic, 5-13 × 3-9 cm, glabrous or abaxially sparsely pubescent on veins, base broadly cuneate to obtuse-orbicular, margin serrate, apex broadly rounded, muriculate, or shortly acuminate; secondary veins 3-5 pairs. Cymes axillary, sometimes terminal, 1-3 cm, 1-7-flowered; pedicels jointed below middle or nearly to base. Male flowers: sepals obtuse-triangular; petals obovate-elliptic to rectangular, 3-4 × 2-2.5 mm; disk shallowly cupuliform, lobe shallow, apex rounded-obtuse; stamens 2-3 mm. Female flowers: corolla relatively shorter than that of male flower; disk slightly thick, carnose; staminodes very short; ovary approximately globose; styles ca. 1.5 mm; stigma deeply 3-lobed, lobe apex shallowly 2-lobed. Capsule approximately globose, 8-13 mm wide, yellow, 3-valved. Seeds elliptic, slightly flat, 4-5 × 2.5-3 mm, reddish brown; aril orange-red. Fl. May-Jun, fr. Jul-Oct.
Mixed forests, forest margins, thickets on grassy slopes; 400-2200 m. Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang [Japan, Korea].
This is one of the most widely distributed Celastrus species in China. The ripe fruit is used in Chinese traditional medicine, called "wattle flower" in NE and N China. The bark is used for fine fiber, and seed oiliness is 50%. It is also widely distributed in Asia and its leaf morphology is very variable.