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Euonymus americanus

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
Hearts a'busting, Strawberry bush
Categories:
Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Comment:

Euonymus americanus is a  low maintenance deciduous shrub native to the southeastern US in the Celastraceae family.  It has attractive yellow-green fall foliage and striking green stems in winter. Euonymus americanus has an open, airy habit that is sprawling when young but more erect as the plant matures. Fertilize it lightly as too much can burn the foliage.  It can be grown on clay soils and is drought tolerant but also tolerates wet soils.  Tolerates being planted near black walnut trees. 

It is native to wooded slopes, moist understory forest areas, low sandy woods, ravines and streambanks from New York south to Florida and west through Pennsylvania to Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and eastern Texas. 

Its bark is green, but does split and become darker as the tree ages.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest

Foliage: Fall, yellow Bloom: Summer   Fruit: Fall, red-orange berries

Wildlife Value: The plant frequently sustains damaged from deer.  The foilage and twigs are eaten by white-tailed deer.  Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.  Fruits are attractive to birds.  Its seeds are eaten by songbirds.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: This plant has no serious insect or disease problems. Watch for euonymus scale, mites, leaf miner, aphids, mealybugs and crown gall. Witches’ broom, stem dieback, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spots may appear. 

Height:
4-6 ft.
Foliage:
Thin spreading branches are clad with oblong to elliptic leaves (to 3” long) with crenulate margins, narrow to rounded bases and sharply pointed tips. Each leaf has 5-7 pairs of ascending veins which disappear prior to reaching the margins. Leaves turn dark orange-red in fall. The leaves are opposite and simple. It has attractive green stems in the winter.
Flower:
Spring flowers bloom from the leaf axils on pedicils to 1” long. Each flower (1/3” across) has 5 pale green to greenish yellow petals with purple stamens. Most flowers in the genus have 4 petals, but this species has 5. Although the flowers are not showy, they are followed in fall by extremely showy, warty, crimson red fall fruits (to 3/4” diameter). Each fruit is a 5-lobed capsule which splits open when ripe in the fall that resemble strawberries, (hence the sometimes used common name of strawberry bush or bursting heart)
Zones:
6 to 9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Partial shade; tolerates moist soil
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Open, loose, airy habit; green stems; suckers
Exposure:
Partial shade; tolerates moist soil
Fruit:
Berry
Family:
Celastraceae
Distribution:
Southeastern US
Poison Part:
All parts
Poison Delivery Mode:
Ingestion
Symptoms:
Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, chills, coma, and convulsions
Toxic Principle:
Unidentified, possibly a glycoside
Severity:
TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.
Found in:
Forest or natural areas in mixed deciduous forests and low woodlands; weedy in disturbed areas around houses and buildings; land
Width:
3-4 ft.
Tags:
woodland, clay, showy fruit, deciduous, wet sites, drought tolerant, wet soil, hedge, hummingbirds, wildlife, black walnut, fall interest, songbirds, wet

NCCES plant id: 478

Euonymus americanus Euonymus americanus in bloom
Photo by Suzanne Cadwell, CC BY-NC-2.0
Euonymus americanus Euonymus americanus fruit
Photo by J. Michael Raby, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0