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Euonymus americanus

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 5'-12'

Bloom Time: March, April, May, June

Bloom Color: white, purple, green

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: berries, bog plant, colonizing, drought tolerant, fall interest, medicinal, poisonous, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant, swamp plant, woodland plant

Fruit of Euonymus americanus (strawberry bush)
  • Fruit of Euonymus americanus (strawberry bush)
  • Fruit of Euonymus americanus (strawberry bush)
  • Fruit of Euonymus americanus (strawberry bush)
  • Fruit of Euonymus americanus (strawberry bush)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Euonymus americanus

Also known as:

bursting-heart

,

running strawberry bush

,

strawberry bush

,

hearts-bustin'-with-love

,

American strawberry-bush

,

brook euonymus

,

wahoo

,

fish wood

,

burning bush

Scientific Synonyms:

Euonymus americana

Description

Euonymus americanus is a delicate, airy deciduous shrub that can grow to 12' under ideal conditions. The most notable feature of this plant is the bright red, strawberry-like fruit that provide an early fall burst of color in this species' woodland environment. When ripe, the fruit will literally burst open scattering its red seeds several feet away from the plant. The yellowish, greenish, purplish flowers are small and inconspicuous, yet rather unusual and interesting looking when observed up close. The green leaves are oval, pointed at either end and lightly serrated. They turn shades of orange and red in fall. The distinct, angular stems remain green through winter, with hints of purple when exposed to more sun.

Cultivation

Strawberry bush is an understory shrub found in moist, deciduous forests and stream margins. It tolerates occasional inundation and wet environments, yet it is also drought tolerant within its native range once established. Moist, well drained, organically rich, acidic soil in full to part shade is best. Euonymus americanus will slowly spread by underground runners and root suckers to form small colonies without becoming invasive. Bloom time will vary depending on geographic location, from March to June. Zones 5-9

Propagation

Propagate from cuttings, root cuttings, or by separating and transplanting suckers. Arching stems will root if they come in contact with the soil an can also be transplanted. Stored seeds will require warm, then cold stratification.

Additional Notes

Euonymus americanus is not to be confused with other species commercially sold as "strawberry bush" or "burning bush", and that are highly invasive imports from Asia. Young plants should be protected from deer and rabbits. Though some birds and small mammals will eat the seeds, strawberry bushes are scarce and do not constitute a significant food source. While all parts of the plant should be considered poisonous if ingested in large quantities, they are also know to have useful medicinal applications.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: IL, NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Celastrales
Family Celastraceae Bittersweet family
Genus Euonymus spindletree
Species Euonymus americanus bursting-heart