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Euonymus alatus

Phonetic Spelling
yoo-ON-ih-mus a-LAY-tus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Burning Bush is a moderately weedy species of deciduous shrub, single or multi-stemmed, that is drought tolerant and provides stunning red fall color. In its native Japan, it is often found in thickets and woods in lowlands and mountains. It is grown mostly as an ornamental plant because of its bright red leaves in fall, but be aware that more shade will equal poor fall color quality. The blooms in spring are small and inconspicuous, but the fall color is a brilliant red (hence the common name). There is also winter interest due to naked, winged branches. The plant provides a nice effect when planted en-mass, as specimen plant, or as hedge.

Burning Bush prefers a well-drained loamy soil in dry shade, but also does well in full sun and most soils, including clay. It does not tolerate wet, poorly-drained soil and it appreciates consistent moisture, particularly when grown in full sun locations. When cultivated, it can withstand severe pruning to a small size and makes an excellent screen, hedge, or shrub border. It can be an upright mound in form, have horizontal branches, have a flat top, or even have multiple stems. Unpruned, the shrub grows tall, up to 20 feet by as much as 12 feet wide. Burning Bush also transplants easily. Cultivars with more compact forms of the shrub (from 4 to 10 feet tall) are available.

This shrub has a tendency to spread beyond cultivated garden areas and into native habitats. Its invasive tendency has been noted in multiple eastern and midwestern states. It grows in woodland edges, lands, in forests, in mixed deciduous forests, on roadsides and any accessible areas where it may expand into a dense grove. It is weedy in disturbed areas around houses and buildings. Its growth tendency enables it to out-compete other plants. Its invasiveness has especially been noted in western North Carolina. Burning Bush has escaped cultivated areas and become naturalized in at least 21 eastern and mid-western states. In some areas, it is now considered to be a threat to native plants because of its ability to establish itself where conditions are favorable. It will out-compete native plants to form dense thickets. Consider less invasive shrubs in the Euonymus genus for your home landscape.

Burning Bush seeds are edible by birds and wildlife. However, though no records of toxicity have been seen for this species of Euonymus, a number of other species in this genus are poisonous and caution is advised (thus the advisory of low toxicity).  

Diseases, Pests, and Other Plant Problems:    

No serious insect or disease problems. Twig blight may occur, particularly in wet soil conditions. Spider mites may appear on stressed plants.

More information on Euonymus.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Children's Secret Garden- Wilson Botanical Gardens
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Compactus', 'Odum', 'Rudy Haag'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#shrub#wildlife plant#weedy#fall interest#hedges#screening#fantz#bird friendly#partial shade tolerant#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Compactus', 'Odum', 'Rudy Haag'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#shrub#wildlife plant#weedy#fall interest#hedges#screening#fantz#bird friendly#partial shade tolerant#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euonymus
    Species:
    alatus
    Family:
    Celastraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Siberia to East Asia, Japan and China.
    Distribution:
    Throughout the eastern and central United States.
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruit attracts birds who eat the seeds and distribute them. The fall berries are eaten by birds, and the seeds are easily spread by birds. It is attractive to deer. This plant is frequently damaged by deer. Host plant to many types of beetle.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Range of soil types; drought tolerant
    Edibility:
    Use caution. Many species of this genus are toxic to humans.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Horizontal
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Multi-trunked
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small 1/2 inch long, red, fleshy fruit ripens in fall within a red capsule. This red, pink, ivory to yellow capsule splits to show orange-red seeds in the fall that are attractive to birds. The fall berries are eaten by birds, and the seeds are easily spread by birds. An obovoid, dehiscent capsule; single seed enclosed in orange-red aril.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has non-showy, small 4-petaled greenish-maroon flowers. A 3-flowered cyme, axillary. Yellow-green, 4-petaled, 1/2 inch long and 1/3 inch wide.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has elliptic to obovate, crenulate to serrulate, opposite to sub-opposite, simple leaves that are 1 to 3 inches long and 1/2 to 1 inch wide, and medium to dark green. They can be finely serrated. Leaves provide excellent red fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    The bark of large old stems is gray or brownish gray and slightly furrowed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems have corky "wings" and seed capsules on them hence the common name. Green to greenish-brown, alate with 2-4 prominate, corky wings 1/4-1/2" wide, new growth is reddish-green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Compaction
    Drought
    Erosion
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Children
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisonous through ingestion. Poisonous symptoms: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, weakness, chills, and coma. TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. Ingesting large amounts of any part of the plant can result in poisoning. CHILDREN may be attracted to fruits in fall. No part of this plant is edible, including seeds: All parts are poisonous.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unidentified, possibly a glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems