Creature Feature: Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
By CG Science Staff Writer Emma Dean
The air has developed a sharp chill and Burning Bushes located around Ohio University’s campus have been staging a show of their brilliantly bright red leaves.
The Burning Bush is native to central China and Korea. Its mid-spring yellow four-petal flowers often go unnoticed, but for about two weeks in autumn, the bush demands attention as its leaves burst with vibrant crimson shades
This invasive species is found all along the eastern United States after originally being introduced to the country in 1860 for landscaping purposes. Today the plant can be found along roadways, commercial and industrial sites, as well as park and residential landscapes. However, not every area is fond of the intruder. In Connecticut, Winger euonymus is listed as invasive while in Massachusetts it’s prohibited.
- Without pruning, the compact euonymus can grow to 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The winged Euonymus can grow to 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide without pruning.
- The Burning Bush adapts well to a range of soil conditions although it does not tolerate wet soils.
- Burning Bush threatens many habitats as an invasive species including forests, coastal scrublands and prairies.
- Hundreds of seedlings are often found below the parent plant. This is referred to as a “seed shadow.”
- The Burning Bush is susceptible to a small hard-shelled insect known as a scale which wedges itself between the cork of the branches and twigs, making the green part of the bark disappear.
- Burning Bushes dwelling in partial sunlight areas may exhibit a red-pink color.