Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alatus)

Also called Burning Bush, Winged Euonymus is native to areas across Asia and brought to North America as an ornamental plant. These shrubs are now found all along the east coast of the United States and west to Illinois. Burning Bush is a deciduous shrub, often 5-10 feet but can grow higher, with many winged stems. It has dark green leaves until the fall when they become a red-purple color. The flowers are inconspicuously small and green; the fruits are red-purple and mature during the summer. Dispersal by animals aids in spreading the seeds of the plant over large distances, but it also spreads thorough vegetative reproduction.

300x225 2The problem with Burning Bush comes from the fact that it is a very hardy plant that will crowd out other plants, in particular native species. Depending on the size of the plant, many actions can be taken. Hand pulling to uproot small plants, mechanical cutting can be used for larger plants, and the application of herbicide will strongly hinder the growth of this species.

Native species that can serve as alternatives to Winged Euonymus include: Bayberry, Highbush Blueberry, Chokeberry, American Cranberry Bush, Fothergilla, and Summersweet.