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Winter Creeper Euonymus fortunei

Other plants called Winter Creeper:

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

Climbing Euonymus is a shrub with tendencies to climb like a vine. The juvenile form is a procumbent, vine-like groundcover; and the adult form is a shrub. In nature, it can often be found in woods and thickets in the low mountains of its native Japan. Some cultivars (see list) may be more of a vine and others more of a small shrub, but keep in mind that the vining cultivars and some shrubs can both be invasive. Climbing Euonymus readily escapes into native forests and has no trouble dominating medium-sized trees. Climbing Euonymus is listed as invasive in North Carolina and in other states of the southeast and northeast. When used as ground cover for the showy leaves, it tends to climb if given support. As a woody vine, this plant can form new rootlets when its branches contact moist soil. In addition, when this vine climbs trees, it produces aerial rootlets along its branches. This plant is frequently damaged by deer and is salt tolerant.

There are no records of toxicity for this species of Euonymus; however, a number of plants in this genus are poisonous and caution is advised. Avoid eating any parts of this plant in large quantities. The berries in particular 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 of Creeping Euonymus is variable and it may grow to 6 feet high as a shrub or spread to 20 feet as a branching woody vine supported by a wall, tree, or trellis. As a groundcover, it can be kept to several inches tall, trimmed to two to four feet as a small shrub, or kept around 15 feet as a standard vine on a trellis. The vine can grow several times 15 feet if growing up a tree towards sunlight. The sub species E. fortunei radicans is particularly useful, as are the cultivars 'Emerald and Gold', 'Emerald Gaiety', 'Coloratus', and 'Kewensis.

The leaves are semi-evergreen to evergreen and do not display fall leaf color. Variegated, colored and green cultivars are available, with non-green forms tending to revert to green. The long lasting fall berries have orange aril (pulp), however. Adult plants have unremarkable small quarter inch flowers in the spring, usually greenish-white.

Creeping Euonymus prefers full sun to medium shade, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and soil containing loam, clay-loam, sand, and gravelly material. It tolerates heavy shade, is pH adaptable, and is easily transplanted from woody cuttings and tolerates a variety of soils other than wet ground.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Scale and winter leaf burn can be a problem. Susceptible to anthracnose, powdery mildew, aphids, and crown gall.

More information on Euonymus.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Colorata', 'Emerald Gaiety', 'Emerald 'n' Gold', 'Kewensis', 'Longwood', 'Manhattan', 'Silver Queen', 'Sunspot', var. radicans
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#full sun tolerant#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#salt tolerant#vines#climbing vines#deer browsing plant#fantz#partial shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Colorata', 'Emerald Gaiety', 'Emerald 'n' Gold', 'Kewensis', 'Longwood', 'Manhattan', 'Silver Queen', 'Sunspot', var. radicans
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#full sun tolerant#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#salt tolerant#vines#climbing vines#deer browsing plant#fantz#partial shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euonymus
    Species:
    fortunei
    Family:
    Celastraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia, China, Japan, and Korea.
    Distribution:
    Introduced to the Eastern United States.
    Wildlife Value:
    birds are attracted to the seeds in the fall.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Salt
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    Toxic when ingested in large quantities.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 14 ft. 0 in. - 32 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Dense
    Horizontal
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Prostrate
    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)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    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, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fertile flowers are replaced by seed capsules that become mature during the autumn. Mature seed capsules are white, globoid, and about ¼ inch across. Eventually, they split open to reveal fleshy arils that are orange to red; solitary seeds occurs within these arils.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    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. Flowers develop from the axils of mature leaves; their peduncles (basal stalks) are up to 4" long, while their pedicels are up to ½" long. Both peduncles and pedicels are light green, hairless, and terete. The blooming period occurs during the summer for about 3 weeks.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    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 evergreen leaves with broad, shallow, or rounded teeth; dark green and silvery white vein either on edge or mid-leaf. Opposite, simple, ovate-elliptic, 1 to 3 inches long and 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches across, crenate-serrate, thinly coriaceous. Often discolors in winter. Leaves occur at intervals along the young shoots; densely distributed and rather leathery in texture. The leaf tips are acute to blunt, while the leaf bases are rounded, truncate, or cuneate (wedge-shaped). The upper side of leaves is medium to dark green, hairless, and usually shiny, while the lower side of leaves is more pale, hairless, and dull. On shoots with immature leaves, the latter are often conspicuously whitened along the central and lateral veins; flowers and fruits are not produced on such shoots. On shoots with mature leaves, the latter are less whitened or green along the central and lateral veins; these shoots usually produce flowers and fruits.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown, thin, initially smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Older branches become reddish brown, rough-textured, and woody, while young shoots are green, terete, glabrous, and rather stiff.
  • 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 if eaten in large quantities. Can cause 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