Winged Spindletree, more...
[Euonymus alata (Thunb.) Siebold, orth.]
Shrub to 6 m tall Leaves: opposite to subopposite, very short-stalked, medium to dark green above, paler and sometimes lightly hairy beneath, 2.5 - 7.5 cm long, 1.3 - 3.2 cm wide, elliptic to inversely egg-shaped with a wedge-shaped base and a pointed tip, finely toothed. Leaves turn bright red to pinkish red in fall. Flowers: borne in clusters of three to eight in leaf axils, yellowish green, 6 - 8 mm wide, four-petaled. Fruit: a red, one- to four-lobed capsule 6 mm across, splitting to reveal a seed covered by an orange to red coating (aril), dropping in fall. Twigs: green to brown, becoming gray with age, with two to four prominent corky wings.
Similar species: Other species of Euonymus in the Chicago Region lack the corky winged stems of Euonymus alata.
Flowering: late April to late May
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Asia in the 1860s, E. alata has escaped from cultivation. Birds eat the fruit and disseminate seeds into natural areas. The plant tolerates full sun to almost full shade and a range of soils, and competes with native shrubs in open woods, pastures, and mature second-growth forests in the eastern and midwestern United States.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: Many cultivars of this species have been developed, and it is commonly planted as a hedge or in foundations for its fall color and winged stems. However, it has escaped from cultivation and should be planted with caution.
Etymology: Euonymus is the ancient Greek name for the genus. Alata comes from the Latin word meaning winged, referring to the twigs.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
Shrub to 2.5 m; twigs with 2-4 conspicuous corky wings; lvs subsessile, elliptic to obovate, to 6(-8) cm, sharply serrulate, turning bright red in autumn, then deciduous; fls 4-merous, green, 6-8 mm wide; fr smooth, purplish; aril orange. Native of e. Asia, widely cult. and locally escaped and established in our range. May, June.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C =null, non-native
Wetland Indicator Status: N/A
Citation: The vPlants Project. vPlants: A Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region. http://www.vplants.org
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