Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) is an invasive shrub that can be found in many gardens, including our own. I have not yet been able to convince Judy to let me get rid of it.
The popularity of Burning Bush is explained at this time of year, when the foliage generally turns bright red.
There are small fruits popular with birds, who spread the seeds far and wide.
According to the website Invasive.org, Burning Bush “threatens a variety of habitats including forests, coastal scrublands and prairies where it forms dense thickets, displacing many native woody and herbaceous plant species.”
Another member of this genus that is invasive in much of North America is the vine Winter Creeper (E. fortunei).
We used to have this plant growing at the corner of the garage and the Back Garden gate. I was able to remove it without too much trouble.
Even so, this is an invasive that is extremely common and still widely sold, with a number of popular cultivars.
Based on my exposure to these 2 species, I thought it might be necessary to swear off the genus altogether. I considered starting an organization called Euonymous Anonymous.
However, it turns out such a drastic step is not needed. There are at least a couple of native members of the genus with ornamental qualities as good or better than Burning Bush.
For instance, there is E. atropurpureus, which rejoices in the common name Eastern Wahoo. The fruits of this plant are much more ornamental than those of Burning Bush. The leaves are not quite as brilliant, but I think the leaves and fruit together create an excellent effect.
There’s also E. americana, which has two common names so excellent that I would have trouble choosing between them: Strawberry Bush and Hearts-a-Burstin. But let’s stick with Strawberry Bush for now.
Both names are derived from the remarkable fruit, which arguably looks like a strawberry when unripe but then bursts open when fully ripe. Foliage has a very nice orange-red color in fall.
So my mission is clear: I must convince Judy to let me take down the Burning Bush and replace it with a Strawberry Bush or an Eastern Wahoo.
Have you had any experience with these or any other unusual members of the Euonymus clan?