Thursday, October 13, 2011

Euonymus sp.

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. 
Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. Exodus 3:2

 The Bible has been inspiration for naming just about any manner of thing. There is a plant, Euonymus alatus, that fairly invites being named from Exodus. The Burning Bush makes itself most conspicuous this time of year.
Like so many of our ornamentals, this one also hails from Asia and has become invasive throughout eastern North America. It's import and sale is illegal in at least two states. But, there is also a native member of the genus.
Euonymus americanus is commonly called 'Hearts a Bursting' because of the appearance of the ripened fruits (click on the image to get a better view). An alternative name is 'Strawberry Bush' because of the appearance of the fruits before they ripen and open. E. americanus is much less showy than E. alatus and so is much less common as an ornamental, although it is sold as such.

I must confess to having plantings of both, although my Burning Bush is just beginning to show the first hints of color. We think they turn red later than others because they are younger and don't get as much direct sunlight. That may be entirely wrong, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it!


  1. I have at least half a dozen different sorts of Euonymous growing in the garden, some are evergreen, some deciduous, all are showy. They give structure and backbone when nothing else is around.

  2. I've read that there are many species of Euonymus, Friko, but the two I wrote about are the only ones I know and can identify. I can imagine that a large genus of plants might have considerable diversity among its species.

  3. I didn't realize Hearts a-Bustin' was a eunonymus. I have become aware of late just how invasive the burning bush is --- young uns showing up all along the edge of the branches.

  4. How lovely! It looks a bit like the shrub we call Spindle, that grows in our hedgerows... I wonder if it's the same? Jane x

  5. Jane, I believe Spindle is a common name applied to the whole genus, although I've never heard it used in this country. One of the common names used here is Wahoo, with the burning bush sometimes called "winged-wahoo," from the corky ridges running along the stems.

  6. It may be invasive but it's very spectacular - must be worth keeping one and stopping it spreading too much.