Burning Bush or Winged Euonymus
Euonymus alatus is a deciduous shrub, up to 20 feet in height, which invades forests throughout the eastern United States. Two to four corky ridges often form along the length of young stems, though they may not appear in shaded areas or closed canopies.
The opposite, dark green leaves are less than 2 inches long, smooth, rounded and taper at the tips. The leaves turn a bright crimson to purplish color in the fall.
The flowers are inconspicuous, are greenish yellow and have four petals. Flowers develop from late April to June and lay flat against the leaves.
The fruit which appears from September to October are reddish capsules that split to reveal orange fleshy seeds.
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Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) spreads from yards to forests and fields after birds consume the fruit and carry the seeds across long distances. Fruits left uneaten fall to the ground, creating a “seed shadow” around the plant’s base.
Burning bush has long been a favorite horticultural plant.
Forest edges, meadows, fields, disturbed areas, shrublands
Winged euonymus primarily reproduces by seed but it can spread through vegetative means by root suckering. The 4-petaled flowers are inconspicuous and appear in May to early June. The fruit is a cluster of showy pods, usually four found in the leaf axils. Immature fruits are green that ripens to a purplish outer side that splits to reveal seeds with bright, red-orange coatings in the fall.
How You Can Help
Common winterberry (Ilex verticillata), American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
5476807, 5476805, Chris Evans, Univeristy of Illinois, Bugwood.org
5457780,5270099, 5457645,5457756, 5457684, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
5518039, Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org