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Euonymus europaeus (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Euonymus europaeus (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zones 1-9, 14-16, 31-45
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water

Euonymus europaeus

Spindle Tree
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries


Deciduous and evergreen euonymus species are distinct: the characteristic squarish “hatbox” fruit common to both offers the only hint that they’re related. Deciduous types are valued for fall leaf color or showy fruit. Evergreen sorts, used mainly for landscape structure (background and foundation plants, hedges, dividers), include some of the most cold-tolerant broad-leafed plants.

Most species take a range of exposures, from full sun to fairly deep shade; deciduous kinds with fall color give the best display in a sunny location. Some species are very susceptible to mildew. Scale can be a problem on any euonymus.

Euonymus europaeus

This deciduous shrub or tree can reach 20 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide but is usually smaller. Green branches bear shiny green leaves to 3 in. long; fall color varies from yellowish green to yellow to red. Inconspicuous flowers mature into showy pink to red fruits that split to reveal white seeds with a fleshy bright orange appendage.

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