Euonymus alatus

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Euonymus alatus
Euonymous alatus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Celastrales
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Euonymus
E. alatus
Binomial name
Euonymus alatus

Euonymus alatus, known variously as winged spindle, winged euonymus, or burning bush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Celastraceae, native to central and northern China, Japan, and Korea.

The common name "burning bush" comes from the bright red fall color.

It is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks due to its bright pink or orange fruit and attractive fall color. The species[1] and the cultivar 'Compactus'[2] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3]

This plant is regarded as an invasive species of woodlands in eastern North America,[4] and its importation and sale is prohibited in the states of Massachusetts,[5] New Hampshire,[6] and Maine.[7]


Winged euonymus.jpg

This deciduous shrub grows to 6.1 m (20 ft) tall, often wider than tall. As with the related Euonymus phellomanus, the stems are notable for their four corky ridges or "wings." The word alatus (or alata, used formerly) is Latin for "winged," in reference to the winged branches. These structures develop from a cork cambium deposited in longitudinal grooves in the twigs' first year, unlike similar wings in other plants.[8] The leaves are 2–7 cm (342 34 in) long and 1–4 cm (121 12 in) broad, ovate-elliptic, with an acute apex. The flowers are greenish, borne over a long period in the spring. The fruit is a red aril enclosed by a four-lobed pink, yellow, or orange capsule

Detail of leaves in autumn

All parts of the plant are toxic by ingestion, causing severe discomfort.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Euonymus alatus". RHS Gardening. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "Euonymus alatus 'Compactus' AGM". RHS Gardening. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 37. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ Swearingen, J.; Slattery, B.; Reshetiloff, K. (2002). "Winged Burning Bush (Euonymus alata)". Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. National Park Service and United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  5. ^ "Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List". Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Fact Sheet: Prohibited Invasive Plant Species Rules, Agr 3800" (PDF). New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  7. ^ "Burning Bush". Invasive Plants. Maine Natural Areas Program. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  8. ^ Bowen, R. A. (1963). "Botanical Gazette". 124 (4). pp. 256–261.

Further reading[edit]