Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Fireworks

At this time of year there is an explosion of colour; think of it as fall fireworks.  If I had to choose one shrub as a favourite for spectacular fall foliage, it would be Euonymus alatus, commonly known as spindle tree or burning bush.
Native to northeastern Asia and central China this plant was introduced to North America around 1860 and has become one of the most popular garden shrubs because of the brilliant red fall display it puts on.  The rest of the year the leaves are a dark green colour with inconspicuous pale yellowish-green flowers appearing in late spring.  After the leaves drop, small red fruit capsules are evident and they split open revealing an orange aril which the birds like to eat.  These seeds are poisonous to humans so it is important that they do not get into the hands of little ones.
The species shrub grows to 200 cm high and is easily trained to grow as a small tree.  There are shorter varieties rated zone 4 for small yards such as ‘Compactus’ known as dwarf burning bush that only grows to 150 cm tall and wide.
Often this shrub is called ‘winged’ euonymus as well which is because of the corky wings and in the winter when the horizontal branch tiers collect snow, they make for interesting backyard sculpture.
Burning bush looks great in massed plantings, a shrub border, as an accent and even as a hedge.
I'm linking with Tootsie at Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday.


  1. Looks lovely and the colors are spectacular on these in the fall. You can't miss one.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Beautiful! This is one bush I have always wanted but I need to make a new bed for it and some other favorites. I love the red leaves! Pamela

  3. I love this shrub Judith, I've only know it by its common name of Burning Bush. My Mom had one and it would bloom in the cold of winter with the bright pink. When the sun hits it, the name of Burning Bush fits.......Happy Fall.

    The French Hutch

  4. Judith, the colour of the burning bush is so striking and welcome at this time of year.

  5. I love this bush for its' fall colour and the birds love it in the middles of winter for the berries. A win-win shrub.

  6. Wonderful, wonderful color! I'm anxious for our color here to appear!

  7. Hi, i am new here, just came in from Tootsie's. Those are really wonderful Autumn colors, where i am mostly familiar in photos with maples, birches. But I haven't seen real autumn leaves in person. We don't have 4 seasons in the tropics and my few travels to temperate climes usually coincide with spring. Can you imagine us without Fall?

  8. I wonder if it would grow in zone 8?

  9. WOW! The color is spectacular!!! Simply stunning, I can see why it's your fav! Have a great weekend ♥

  10. Easy to see why this is a favorite! Beautiful! I noticed numerous robins on my beautyberry today, enjoying the berries.
    Enjoyed your post on butterflies too.
    Hugs, Beth

  11. Judith,

    Your burning bush is so striking! Don't you just love the explosion of color it brings to your yard?

  12. There is also a burn tree in front of my apartment in Eagle Heights of UWMadison. When I knew it's native to China, I surprised we all come from there. I arrived here only two months ago.


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