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Celastrus paniculatus is a deciduous climbing shrub that can grow very large in size. The base stem of this shrub will grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and produce many woody branches that cling to surrounding flora for support. The inner bark is light and cork like, with yellow sapwood. The leaves are oval shape and grow on singular stems, ranging in color from light to dark green. The flowers are tiny, whitish green to yellow green, and grow on the top of the main stalk. Celastrus is prized by native peoples throughout India for its seeds, which grow in round pods that gradually change from a light yellow to a deep red color as they mature. The seeds are small, oval shaped and grow six per seedpod. They are also may cause yellow-orange stains on anything the oils come into contact with.
Celastrus paniculatus grows in a wide variety of climates and environments. It is native to the Indian continent, but is known to grow wildly in Australia, China, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and many of the Pacific islands. The Celastrus family of shrubs has also been transplanted and grows on every continent except Antarctica. This hardy bush has been seen growing above an elevation of 5900 feet (1800 meters) along the Himalayan mountainside and in other high altitude environments.