Euonymus alatus

Winged Euonymus, Burning Bush




  • native to northeastern Asia
  • hardy to zone 4
  • Special Note: This species has demonstrated an invasive tendency in Connecticut, meaning it may escape from cultivation and naturalize in minimally managed areas. For more information, .

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous shrub
  • rounded, horizontal branching habit
  • flat-topped shrub
  • 15' to 20' tall with an equal spread
  • slow growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • opposite leaf arrangement
  • simple, elliptic leaves
  • 1" to 3" long
  • fine sharp leaf serrations
  • dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • bright, bright red
  • extremely showy


  • not ornamentally significant
  • blooms late May


  • 0.5' long capsule
  • red, found under foliage
  • ripens in September
  • not showy


  • long corky wings, along stems
  • gray brown


  • easily transplanted
  • plant is tolerant of many conditions
  • full sun to partial shade
  • pH adaptable
  • prune tolerant
  • no serious pest problems

Landscape Use

  • for attractive habit
  • for fall foliage
  • shrub border
  • grouping or massing
  • foundation planting
  • useful in almost all settings


  • overused
  • euonymus scale

ID Features

  • buds are imbricate, brownish green
  • buds are strongly divergent
  • long corky wings, along stems
  • rounded, horizontal branching habit
  • bright red fall color


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Apterus' (often seen as var. apterus) - This is a standard, large-growing form that produces stems without the prominent wings.

'Compactus' - This selection is a standard in the nursery trade and one of the most common landscape plants. The mature size is smaller than the species, but the plant still is large and may grow to 10' tall. The wings on the stems are much reduced, and this may be the origin of the cultivar name. Fall color and fruiting are as per the species. The use of this plant in the landscape can be monotonous, though it is a reliable performer.

'Kosho Mayune' - A recent introduction, discovered in Japan. Pinkish-red fall color. Foliage appearance is different from other Euonymus alatus cultivars.

'Monstrosus' - An unusual plant with large, vigorous habit, this plant produces very large wings with heavy substance. It is rarely seen.

'Odom' (Little Moses™) - A slow growing, low mounded plant, reaching 30-36 in. in height at maturity. Smaller and more compact than other so called compact species on the market. Foliage turns brilliant red in the fall. Holds its leaves in fall two or three weeks longer than the species. Reported to produce few fruits.

'Pipzam' (Pipsqueak™) - Compact growing dwarf burning bush, reaching only 5' in height at maturity. Low horizontal habit that is denser and finer in texture than 'Compactus'. Brilliant crimson-red fall foliage. Introduced to cultivation in 2002 by Lake County Nursery Inc.

'Rudy Haag' - Introduced to cultivation in 1963 by Rudy Haag, a Kentucky nurseryman. 'Rudy Haag' is a dense, compact growing form of burning bush that does not get as large as 'Compactus'. Plants exhibit a slow growth rate and are reported to reach 3' high and 3.5' wide after 15 years of growth. This cultivar forms a dense mound of fine twiggy branches. Fall color can be a bright pink to a fire engine red. It has been reported to be nearly seedless. Production of this plant in the trade is steadily increasing.

'Select' (FireBall™) - Compact, 4-7 ft. branching structure with bright red fall color. Introduced by Cole Nursery, this selection of 'Compactus' suffers less winter damage.

'Timber Creek' (Chicago Fire™) - Hardier than the species, grows to 8-10 ft. high and 6-8 ft. wide, with multi-stemmed habit. Crimson red fall color followed by abundant red-orange fruit. Introduced by the Chicagoland Grows™ Program in 1995.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.