Euonymus. Spindle Trees.

In October I wrote a post about the autumn colour in the arboretum at East Bergholt Place, Suffolk. I did not show you any of the wonderful specimens of Euonymus which I saw there. Rupert Eley has the National Collection of Euonymus, so you find  ones  here that you probably have never seen before.  Euonymus have wonderful autumn leaves and lobed capsules which split open to reveal  bright red  berries. If you have admired them but  haven’t chosen one yet, read on. I’m sure you will find something  that appeals to you. For instance, how about the striking berries on Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Koi Boy’?

Eounymus hamiltonianus 'Koi Boy'

Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Koi Boy’

One with similar coloured berries is the unusual Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Pop Corn’

Euonymus hamiltonianus 'Pop Corn'

Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Pop Corn’

I love Euonymus hamiltonianus varieties because many of them have pink leaves and pink berries like this one, Euonymus hamiltonaianus subsp. hians

Euonumus hamiltonianus subs. hians

Euonymus hamiltonianus subs. hians

If this is a bit pale for you then how about the bright pink Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Miss Pinkie’?

Euonymus hamiltonianus 'Miss Pinkie'

Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Miss Pinkie’

Or if something a bit darker appeals to you then Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Red Elf’ maybe fits the bill.

Euonymus hamiltonianus 'Red Elf'

Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Red Elf’

There are so many varieties  of Euonymus hamiltonianus to choose one, and they are all gorgeous.  The only one I am not keen on is one called ‘Fiesta’ . It has pink mottled leaves, I think it looks diseased.

Euonymus hamiltonianus 'Fiesta'

Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Fiesta’

I also enjoy the Chinese Euonymus bungeanus for its lovely pink leaves in Autumn. My favourite is E. bungeanus ‘Dart’s pride’.

Euonymus bungeanus 'Dart's pride'

Euonymus bungeanus ‘Dart’s pride’

And now for some more unusual ones. Not necessarily beautiful, but certainly different is this one, Euonymus americanus. ‘Narrow Leaf’. It has fruits which are quite unlike any of the others but they are a bit sparse.

Euonumus ameriicanus. Narrow Leaf

Euonumus ameriicanus. Narrow Leaf

I don’t suppose anyone will be seeking out the next one, Euonymus japonicus ‘Robustus’ The fruits look rather like capers.

Euonymus japonicus 'Robustus'

Euonymus japonicus ‘Robustus’

Euonymus clivicola var. rongchuensis is certainly unusual, and I think the Jesters’ hats are rather jolly.

Euonymus clivicola var. rongchuensis

Euonymus clivicola var. rongchuensis


A great choice for brilliant  autumn colour would be a variety of Euonymus planipes. I particularly like ‘Sancho’. It has such lovely red leaves and masses of bright orange berries.

Euonymus planipes 'Sancho'

Euonymus planipes ‘Sancho’

 The native Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ is a popular variety and easy to find. It is well named because it does have a cascade of brightly coloured berries.

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade'

Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’

I think Euonymus euopeaus ‘Thornhayes’ is even better with its bronze leaves and abundance of fruit.

Euonymus europaeus 'Thornhayes'

Euonymus europaeus ‘Thornhayes’

Another commonly seen Euonymus is the winged Euonymus alatus. This is an Asian species which has corky wing like new branches. They often have amazing leaf colour.  I love Euonymus alatus var. apterus and Euonymus alatus ‘Timber Creek’

Euonymus alatus var. apterus

Euonymus alatus var. apterus

Euonymus alatus 'Timber Creek'

Euonymus alatus ‘Timber Creek’

The most astonishing lipstick red foliage of all is to be found on Euonymus alatus ‘Rudy Haag’.

Euonymus alatus 'Rudy Haag'

Euonymus alatus ‘Rudy Haag’

I will finish with the unusual Euonymus oxyphyllus which I believe comes from Korea. There are two absolute beauties. E.oxyphllus ‘Waasland and E.oxyphyllus ‘Angyo Elegant’

Euonymus oxyphyllus 'Waasland'

Euonymus oxyphyllus ‘Waasland’

I love the way that the fruits on ‘Angyo Elegant ‘ dangle on little stalks  like earrings. And how well the leaves match the colour of the seed cases.

Euonymus oxyphyllus 'Angyo Elegant'

Euonymus oxyphyllus ‘Angyo Elegant’

The name Spindle Tree comes from the fact that at one time spindles were made from the wood. There are 170 species of Euonymus and this is just a taste of some of them which caught my eye. I have heard that some species of Euonymus, particularly Euonymus europaeus are very invasive in America. This is such a pity if it means that you cannot brighten up your Autumn garden with these jewels.
Here in the UK the only thing to be aware of is that some species harbour the black fly which ruins our broad beans. The other thing to remember is that the berries are poisonous. Fortunately they are not toxic to birds who love them. My robin seems to have taken up permanent residence in the tree to make sure that no other birds try to share its bounty.

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63 Responses to Euonymus. Spindle Trees.

  1. Christina says:

    You only see the basic E. euopeaus here which is a shame because they are quite drought tolerant and I love the autumn colour. Often the foliage drops before it colours so much but in a year like this year it is wonderful, The berries are always amazing.

  2. AnnetteM says:

    Wow – I never knew that there were so many different types of Euonymous with such wonderful berries. That post was a real eye opener for me. Thank you. I really love the Jester’s hats.

  3. Laurin Lindsey says:

    You have solved my mystery! Last week when I was in Miami Beach I came upon a row of what looked like 6 foot tall bushes trimmed in a trees form growing in the planters in an open mall. I think it is the Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Koi Boy’, it looks just like it. I collected some of the seeds to see if I could sprout them : ) I love all the different kinds of Euonymus. Thanks!

  4. Sadly, Euonymus alatus is also invasive in SC, but that does’t keep people from planting it. Even the Highway Department masses at exits and other places of interest for its vibrant autumn color.

    • Chloris says:

      It’ s strange how plants that are perfectly well- behaved in one country become a threat when transplanted to another. We gardeners do have a responsibility to be cautious in introducing new, exotic plants.

  5. sueturner31 says:

    oooh a feast for the eyes…I didn’t know there were so many …I love them all…I grow the native one and can’t get enough of if. Thanks for sharing your pictures 🙂

  6. I think we know these as Flaming Bush. They are considered invasive species here on the east coast of the US. We planted one for its beautiful autumn leaves back when we did not know they are not native plants. The berries are intriguing to look at. The birds must love them because the berries were gone in no time.

    • Chloris says:

      They are lovely and the birds really enjoy the berries. The poisonous seed passes straight through them without being digested. I find that the fruits are particularly relished by robins.

  7. Alison says:

    So many lovely different kinds! They are invasive in certain areas of the U.S. (but not the Pacific Northwest where I live), so they often recommend growing blueberries for fall leaf color instead. I do like the ones you’ve shown with a combination of bright leaves and red and orange berries.

  8. Although I don’t have one of these trees, I pass one daily and only ever notice it at this time of the year. I had presumed it was E. alatus and without knocking on the door I’d hardly expect to find out it’s varietal name but looking at your images, I’d say that Rudy hag is as close as any of them get.
    I had no idea there was as many species. Each one is beautiful (although I’m not sure about E. japonica Robustus up there) but do rather like the contrast of the red leaves and orange berries of Sancho.
    Great blog Chloris!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Angie. I think that Rudy Haag has the brightest leaves of all. It is as good as an Acer. I’ m not keen on E. Japonicus ‘ Robustus’ either. There’ s not much point on plain green berries when you can have such lovely colourful ones. Besides, it has a really gawky habit.

  9. Kris P says:

    They’re all wonderful. Sadly, there are none suited to life in my area of southern California.

  10. Julie says:

    Wonderful post Chloris, I can’t choose a favourite, but can see why your favourite is ‘Darts Pride’, its quite beautiful. I need to rectify this omission from my garden, I think ‘Sancho’ would be a lovely addition. as its very Autumnal.

  11. Debra says:

    What an interesting group of plants. I love plants with autumn colour.

    • Chloris says:

      They are wonderful for autumn colour, I can’ t imagine anything more vibrant than the leaves of ‘Rudy Haag’ . and I love the clash of pink seed cases with red berries in many of them.

  12. snowbird says:

    What fascinating plants, I loved Koi Boy and Popcorn, then fell in love with Narrowleaf and Jesters’ hat, I finally decided that if I was to have one of these it would be Thornhayes! The berries on them all are lovely, I bought one this year for it’s beautiful red leaves, Euonymus alatus, it didn’t produce any berries, but it did say on the label that it doesn’t flower. I must find one that has berries now.
    I did enjoy this!xxx

  13. mattb325 says:

    Great collection – the ‘Koi Boi’ is a real beauty!

  14. rusty duck says:

    I never realised there were so many! Euonymus oxyphyllus ‘Angyo Elegant’ is a stunner.

  15. Cathy says:

    They are wonderful Chloris! Thanks for sharing your great photos. I had no idea there are that many and only see the native one growing wild (and spreading into my garden!). I especially love the really dark red leafed ones, but they are all very attractive.

    • Chloris says:

      Is Euonymus invasive in Germany.? You often see E. Europeanus in native hedges here but I have never seen signs of it spreading. You’ d think it would be everywhere when you think of all those berries.

      • Cathy says:

        I don’t think it’s invasive as it is native here, and we do have a lot along the hedges near us too. It seems to me that the non-native plants are the agressive ones!

  16. We must have a totally different type of euonymous here because ours are evergreen and rarely produce berries. Or maybe the berries are always pruned off. They grow like mad, hence the pruning, and look like a boring green blob all year. Yours are much more interesting. I rarely see the e. americanus, which has the common name of Hearts a Bursting.

    • Chloris says:

      Ah, I think you are probably talking about Euonymus fortunei. They are foliage shrubs. They don’ t look as if they are the same family but they are.
      Hearts a bursting is a great name. I believe that the one we call ‘Timber Creek’ is called ‘Chicago Fire’ in the States. So you clearly have different names for some of them.

  17. pbmgarden says:

    What an eye-opener to see all these varieties.

    • Chloris says:

      I was surprised to see quite so many different ones. There were lots more but I thought I had mentioned enough. Maybe next year I will show some different ones.

  18. Pauline says:

    Super post, I never knew there were so many varieties. I must definitely find one or two or maybe three for the woodland!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Pauline. I remember you once said that you had seen a pink berried one that you liked but you didn’ t know which one it was. I hope this has helped. Most of the E. Hamiltonianus have pink berries .

      • Pauline says:

        Yes, it has helped, many thanks. I have looked at the photo I took in Marjorie Fish’s garden, I still can’t decide which one it is but you have given me a good list to start me off!

  19. Annette says:

    I adore Euonymus so I thoroughly enjoy this post, Chloris. So many are new to me but I think planipes, oxyphyllus and the cheeky clivicola are my favourites. Can’t really warm up for the anemic fruit of the first ones. Again it’s so difficult sourcing anything special, not even planipes is available. I have a good idea: Why don’t you start a mail order for plant addicts in France? I’d be your first customer 😉

    • Chloris says:

      Well there is an idea. Are there restrictions in sending plants to France from the UK? Do they have to have health certificates or anything like that?

      • Annette says:

        I bet they have to have that. You’re not seriously contemplating it, are you? Next time you come to France you could bring a little trailor though and I make sure that I place my order in time. 🙂

  20. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post, and lovely photos. They’re a plant I didn’t know much about before reading this. xx

  21. I refuse to choose! OK, I might be able to narrow it down to about eight. They are lovely, thank you for putting more temptation in my way 🙂

  22. Anna says:

    Oh what riches Chloris! The first euonymous I encountered was in autumn at a now sadly long closed local nursery. I came to an abrupt halt and my jaw positively dropped. They are splendid trees. I did know they harboured blackfly but a price worth paying.

    • Chloris says:

      They are stunning in Autumn. The berries don’ t look quite real. I love the clash of the red and pink. They are colours I would never dream of putting together. But they look wonderful.

  23. croftgarden says:

    Such a lovely collection, I’d not realised there were so many varieties. Such a pity it is so underrated as they make terrific garden plants.

    • Chloris says:

      They make wonderful garden plants but most people probably don’ t realise that there is such a wide variety of different ones. You don’ t see the more unusual ones for sale very often.

  24. jenhumm116 says:

    What a gallery!
    I have just one Euonymus in a pot, bought as a ‘mystery plant’ from Ventnor Botanic Gardens. Sadly this year it didn’t have any berries at all, perhaps it wants its roots in the ground?
    Your specimens are all so beautifully laden with berries – and I love the autumn colour of ‘Sancho’.

  25. bittster says:

    What a show of berries and foliage! The pinks and white surprise me, I always think of solid, bold, red when I think of these plants.
    You could easily leave this post wishing you could add a few more of these 😉

    • Chloris says:

      I love the red berries with red leaves but I think the pink ones are stunning too. In the Autumn I always feel like filling my garden with them but they are rather boring at any other time of the year.

  26. I didn’t realize there were so many species of Euonymous, either! We have two E. alatus here, and they’re stunning in the fall! Unfortunately, they’re becoming a problem in some parts of the U.S., and are quite invasive here in my state. But I don’t want to pull mine out! Such a dilemma. They sure have a healthy collection there at the botanical garden!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, they have a National Collection. I don’ t know whether you have a similar system in the States. Here different individuals look after collections of plants for Plant Heritage so that groups of plants are documented and propagated and preserved for the future.

  27. So many wonderful looking plants! I’m with you on‘Fiesta’ , most unattractive. I have ‘Red Cascade’ and am hoping next year will be the year if flowers and gives me those wonderful fruit. Did you come away with any for your own garden?

    • Chloris says:

      No, I didn’ t buy any. I have a mature one in my garden. I used to have a very large garden and grew several different varieties. I have lots of seedlings taken from these plants and I am really interested to see if they will come true from seed. Maybe I will have some nice new ones. You never know.

  28. Peter/Outlaw says:

    These are such beautiful shrubs/trees and fortunately not invasive where I live so I can seek out some more varieties like Koi Boy – Stunning!

  29. Chloris says:

    Koi Boy is stunning and so unusual, many people don’ t recognise it as an Euonymus.

  30. I think I need Euonymus clivicola var. rongchuensis very badly! That was a real treat though I think that E. japonicus robustus looked far from robust!

  31. I love them all, but the Jesters’ Hats take the prize for fun. The Koi Boy is a show-stopper too.

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