Euonymus Europaeus or European Spindle Tree
European Spindle Tree
The generic name is derived from the Greek words eu, meaning good, well, and onyma, meaning name, in other words something that has a good name. The genus contains 120 species distributed throughout Europe, Asia and North America. They are mostly deciduous but sometimes evergreen shrubs. The European spindle tree grows to a height of 7 m (23 ft) so that it sometimes forms a small tree. The leaves are opposite, elliptical, pointed, 3 to 9 cm (1 to 3½ in) long. Theare in four parts and the short stamens rise from a conspicuous central disc. The fruits are four-valved capsules that split open when ripe revealing a dangling seed covered with an orange fleshy coat (aril).
The spindle tree is propagated by means of seeds which are stored during the winter at a temperature of about 8° C (47° F), stratified in spring and sown in the autumn. It thrives in moderately heavy, loamy or sandy-loamywhich is moderately moist but not too dry. It tolerates partial shade but grows better in good light. It is sometimes planted in groups or as a cover on slopes or as edging beside pathways. It is most attractive in the autumn with its red foliage and bright fruit with dangling seeds.
Also attractive in parks and gardens are the evergreen species, particularly Euonymus fortunei which has several varieties; Euonymus japonicus and Eeuonymus wilsonii.