Two blog friends weighed in on this phenomenon and I think they are both right. Vee noted, "I didn't know that there could be such a thing as a bittersweet tree." I believe she's right about that. Bernideen offered this explanation: "It is a vine and probably grew up into the tree." And I think she's right, too.
This article explains a lot about bittersweet: Bittersweet: Friend or Foe?, and this one: American Bittersweet vs. Invasive Oriental Vines is even more informative.
Here are a few more pictures of the tree (or trees):
|A closer look. See the vines?|
|At the base of the tree -- more vines and bittersweet. But I wonder about those darker red berries at the left, right up next to the tree trunk. They look like something completely different!|