Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus

Scientific Name: Euonymus alatus
Common Name(s): Burning Bush, Winged Burning bush, Winged Spindletree, Winged Euonymus


Research Summary
: Rachel M.

This research was difficult because there were mostly sale websites where this plant was for sale. There were some resources that were good, but there weren't a lot. It was surprising that there are a lot of burning bush plants around here. I would not think that there would be that many. Some of the most important things that I discovered was how you can get rid of this plant such as pulling out the roots and burning them. There are some different ways that you can take care of this plant. You can take care of this plant by watering it a giving it moist soil. Also, if the Burning bush is in the full sun the red colors will stay but the shade will fade those colors.

Identifying Characteristics  
  • 1-3 inches long
  • They are small pointed ovals
  • Fall leaves turn a bright reddish color.
  • Buds are brownish-green.
  • Has purplish fruit.
  • Fruits are 1/2 inch- long capsules and may have up to four seeds.
  • Gray brown bark.
  • Has a dense, fibrous root system.
  • Winged branches.

  • Growing 8-10 feet tall when grown for nurseries but can grow 15 to 20 feet in the height of the width. 


Taxonomy of Species
   Scientific Classification
 What That Classification Means
 Kingdom Plantae
 Eukaryotic, many-celled,don't move,members make their own food.
 Phylum Magnoliophyta
 A class of flowering plants that produce seeds enclosed in an ovary (is
 part of the female reproductive organ of the flower).
 Class Magnolioapsida
 Flowering plants that has two leaves, or cotyledons, in the embryo (an
 organism in its early stages of development) of the seed.
 Order Celastrales   Is an order of flowering plants.
 Family Celastraceae
 Family of flowering plants having two cotyledons ( a leaf of the embryo of
 a seed of a plant) in the seed.
 Genus Euonymus L.
 Is a genus of flowering plants in the staff vine family, Celastrace.
 Species Alatus
 Burning bush, a flowering plant. 

Similar species include: Strawberry Bush, Eastern Wahoo, Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum, Sweetgum, Winged Elm, Virginia Sweetspire, Dwarf Witch Alder, Fragrant Sumac, Winged Sumac. 

Location and Movement
Origin/ Native Range
 Eastern Asia.
 It was brought over as an ornamental plant and spread quickly. It was brought to the U.S. in the
 mid 1800's.
Spread of Species
  • Birds eat the seeds and then disperse them in other locations.
  • Sold as an ornamental plant and purchased and planted in yards. 
  • Planted as hedges and highway plantings.
Where is it now invasive?  Burning bush is found from New England to northern Florida and the Gulf Coast and also in Illinois.

Is this species in Maine?
Where has it been identified?
 Has shown up in the warmest coastal areas of Maine. The dwarf bush has trouble surviving in most
 of Maine.
How was this species introduced?

 Most likely introduced for ornamental purposes.

Natural Environment
  • It can be located in habitats ranging from full sun to full shade.
  • They also like a variety of soil type sand pH levels.  
  • They like to grow in fields and they usually spread when people plant them or by selling them online so people will buy them.
Climate and Temperature Range
  • Warm or cold climates. Its hardiness zones are 4-8.
  • They like moist and well drained soil but they are adaptable to poor soil.

Ecological Interactions
Nutrients from soil and water and through photosynthesis.

Consumed By
  • Birds eat the seeds and may be eaten by white tailed deer.
  • Scale insects suck the sap from stems and leaves.
  • The larvae of the black weevil consume feeder roots, while the adults feed on the leaves.

  • Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes unknown.
  • Spreads quickly so other plants can't grow and chokes up the root systems.
 Human  Humans like it for ornamental reasons. 
 Economic  Helps nurseries economically because people buy the burning bush for landscaping.

 Biological  N/A
  • Cut or dig out larger plants.
  • Root systems can be removed with a spading fork of pull with weed wrench.
  • Ground out stump then paint with glyphosate immediately after cutting.
 Cultural  Convince nurseries to not sell as an ornamental shrub and educate home owners on its invasive
 nature so they don't plant it in their yard.
 Chemical  Can be controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as 
 glyphosate, imazapyr, or triclopyr. Also, cut stumps can be sprayed or painted with glyphosate.

Interesting Facts
  • In the fall the burning bush turns red and looks like it's burning.