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Euonymus fortunei

Previously known as:

  • Euonymus kiautschovicus
Phonetic Spelling
yoo-ON-ih-mus for-TOO-nee-eye
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This Euonymus shrub-vine, commonly called a Wintercreeper, is listed as invasive in NC and also in the southeast and northeast. Some cultivars (see list) may be a vine or even a small shrub. The vining cultivars are invasive as well as some shrubs. When used as ground cover for the showy leaves it tends to climb if given support. This plant is frequently damaged by deer and is salt tolerant.

Like all Euonymus plants, this one is poisonous if any parts are eaten in large quantities. The berries, or any plant parts, should not be eaten by humans. The berries are eaten by some birds which is how the plant is spread and often how it becomes more invasive.

The size is variable as it may grow quite tall and shrub or vine like, growing up a wall, tree, or trellis. As a groundcover, it can be kept to several inches tall, two to four feet as a small shrub, or around 15 feet as a standard vine on a trellis, or several times that if growing up a tree towards sunlight. This can also depend on which cultivar is planted.  It makes a good hedge either clipped or allowed to grow naturally.

The plant is semi-evergreen to evergreen and does not display fall leaf color. The long lasting fall berries have orange aril (pulp), however. The berries emerge from a capsule that splits longwise. 

It is easily transplanted from woody cuttings and tolerates a variety of soils other than wet ground. Adult plants have unremarkable small quarter inch flowers in the spring, usually greenish-white.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Evergreen, opposite, crenate-serrate leaves
  • Procumbent climbing groundcover or med-large shrub
  • prominent axillary buds

This species has two distinct morphologies: the juvenile form which is a procumbent, vine-like groundcover; and the adult form which is a shrub. Leaf types are highly variable. Variegated, colored and green cultivars are available, with non-green forms tendency to revert to green. 

Tolerates full sun and heavy shade; pH adaptable; tolerant of most soils except wet conditions; transplants readily; pest problems.

Problems: Scale and winter leaf burn

More information on Euonymus.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#sun#invasive#poisonous#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#salt tolerant#deer damage#vine#part shade#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#sun#invasive#poisonous#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#salt tolerant#deer damage#vine#part shade#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euonymus
    Species:
    fortunei
    Family:
    Celastraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Assam to Temp. Eastern Asia and Western & Central Malesia
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Salt
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Vine
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    A dihiscent capsule, pinkish to reddish and 0.3 in., splits to expose seeds with an orange aril.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, greenish white flowers. The flower is about 1/4 inch with four petals which may be dome shaped or flat. Axillary cymes (adult form). Greenish-white, < 1/4". Appear in July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Paired leaves with broad, shallow, or rounded teeth; dark green and silvery white vein either on edge or mid-leaf. Opposite, simple, ovate-elliptic, 1-3", crenate-serrate, thinly coriaceous. Often discolors in winter.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown, thin, initially smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Round slender green stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, chills, coma, and convulsions.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unidentified, possibly a glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems