Euonymus trees and shrubs are popular for their year-round bounty of features, including unusual colourful fruit clusters which split open to reveal bright seeds. Other popular qualities are their stunning autumn coloured foliage and some varieties featuring curious corky wings along their branches.
The flowers on Euonymus may be small, but are followed by the wonderful fruit clusters that emerge in autumn. In winter, these split open to reveal vibrant seeds that are often bright orange or hot pink/red. Not only are the seeds wonderfully decorative, they are popular with birds who feast on the flesh covered seeds and disperse them. The seed pods can often remain adorning the tree through most of the winter.
The Euonymus genus contains around 130 species and whilst many of these are native to parts of Asia, Euonymus europaea is native to the UK.
The name "Spindle Tree" comes from the light, yet hard wood being ideal for making wool spinning spindles. Despite the name, some of them are bushes. The wood of Spindle Trees has also been used for knitting needles and certain musical instruments. Other common names for Euonymus include Burning Bush, Winged Spindle tree and Corktree.