Celastrus orbiculatus

Climbing spindle berry

Family: Celastraceae

Origin: Asia

Close up of climbing spindle berry in autumn.
The fruit is 6-8mm in diameter. They turn from green to yellow/orange when mature.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Whole region — Progressive containment, council delivered

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Deciduous climber < 12 m tall or sprawling along the ground. Stems are < 14 cm in diameter and green with sharp spines when young, maturing to grey brown. Leaves are serrated, < 10 cm long and turn yellow prior to senescence in autumn.

Flowers are small, pale green and borne in clusters in spring. Fruit is a three-sectioned capsule, yellow/orange when mature and contains brown seeds with red arils.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell climbing spindle berry. As climbing spindle berry is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant climbing spindle berry within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will manage climbing spindle berry at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see climbing spindle berry anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Disturbed forest and shrubland, forest margins, roadsides, intact forest.


Seeds dispersed by birds and mammals. Vegetative spread from root suckers. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, movement of contaminated soil and deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Smothers native vegetation, causing canopy collapse and suppressing native seedling recruitment. May overtop plantation trees and impede recreational access to natural areas.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of climbing spindle berry leaves and flowers.
The flowers are greenish in colour and form in small clusters.
Photo credit: S. Timmins
Climbing spindle berry spreading across a forest.
It smothers the canopy of native trees.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team