Euonymus europaeus
Common name: 
Common Spindle Tree
European Euonymus
u-ON-i-mus u-ro-PEE-us
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous shrub or small tree, 12-30 ft (3.5-9 m) tall and 10-25 ft (3-7.5 m) wide, narrow, upright, broadening with age, rounded outline.  Branches green with corky stripes.  Leaves simple, opposite, elliptic-ovate to lance-oblong to obovate, 2.5-9 cm long and 0.8-3 cm wide, acuminate tip, wedge-shaped base, margin crenate-serrate, dull dark green and glabrous (without hairs), selections may have good fall color.  Flowers in small clusters of 3-5, 4-petaled, yellow-green, about 1 cm wide, not showy.  Fruit pink to red, to 2 cm wide, 4-lobed, opening to expose orange seeds in fall, showy.  Seeds are considered poisonous; they contain a number of toxins, including cardiotoxic glycosides.
  • Sun to part shade.  Soil adaptable, if well-drained.  Tough plant, can be grown as a hedge.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4    Native to Europe and western Asia.  Birds may spread the seeds and can become invasive and weedy.
  • Several selections available, less so in western US, some of the more common cultivars include:
    • ‘Aldenhamensis’  -  upright, vigorous, red fall color, fruit pink.
    • ‘Atrorubens’  -  green leaves turn purple in early summer, fruit dark pink to red
    • ‘Red Ace’  -  to 15 ft (4.5 m), orange-red fall color, fruit rose red, opening to show orange seeds.
    • ‘Red Cap’  -  (shown here)  abundant fruit, bright red with orange seeds, similar or the same as 'Red Cascade'.
  • europaeus: of Europe
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves and fruit, fall

    leaves and fruit, fall

  • stems and buds, winter

    stems and buds, winter