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Euonymus alatus

Also known as: burning bush, winged euonymus


Origin: Native to northeastern Asia, this shrub was introduced to North America in the 1860s as an ornamental. It has been widely used as such, and for roadside beautification, and is still being sold.


Description: Winged burning bush is a shrub with opposite, serrated, oval leaves 1-2 inches long which turn bright crimson to purplish in the fall. Its smaller stems often have 4 distinctive ridges, or “wings,” running along their length. Its 4-petaled flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, and appear where leaves attach to the stem in April or May. Fruits are capsules which turn from red to purple, developing in August and remaining on the plant into winter.


Habitat description: This medium sized shrub can be found in full sun and partial shade in forested environments. An escapee from urban plantings, it is often found near urban areas.


Distribution: Winged burning bush is found in a variety of habitats including roadsides, forest edges, and old fields.


Problem: Once established, winged burning bush can form dense thickets that exclude native plants. It spreads as seeds are dropped by birds and colonizes by root suckers. Its seeds have a high germination rate, and it is very shade-tolerant, allowing new plants to grow even under heavy canopy cover.


Control: Hand-pulling of seedlings or small plants may be effective, but care should be taken not to disturb the soil more than necessary. Glyphosate (3%) or triclopyr (3%) may be sprayed onto leaves. This can be done anytime during the growing season. Well-established stands are probably best controlled by cutting stems to ground-level and spraying or painting the cut stumps with a 20% glyphosate solution or a 20% solution of triclopyr and basal oil


USE PESTICIDES WISELY: Always read the entire pesticide label carefully, follow all mixing and application instructions and wear all recommended personal protective gear and clothing. Contact your state department of agriculture for any additional pesticide use requirements, restrictions or recommendations.

Winged burning bush

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