Euonymus europaeus

European Euonymus, Common Spindle Tree




  • native to Europe
  • hardy to zone 4
  • is invasive in the United States

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous upright shrub
  • rounded form
  • 12' to 30' tall and nearly as wide
  • fast growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • opposite leaf arrangement
  • simple, deciduous leaves
  • ovate to obovate leaf shape
  • 1" to 3.5" long
  • serrate leaf margins
  • dull green leaf color
  • glabrous

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow to yellow-green to a reddish-purple fall color
  • leafs out early


  • yellow-green flower color
  • 0.5" across
  • flowers borne in long cymes
  • blooms in May
  • not ornamentally significant


  • dry capsule fruit
  • lobed
  • 0.5" to 0.75" across
  • pinkish red color
  • orange seeds
  • matures in September
  • persists through the fall
  • showy


  • greenish-red stems
  • gray-brown older bark
  • thin


  • transplant from container of B&B
  • soil tolerant, but needs well-drained conditions
  • pH adaptable
  • full sun to partial shade
  • very durable

Landscape Use

  • group or mass planting
  • screen
  • border


  • euonymus scale
  • invasive and weedy

ID Features

  • imbricate, fleshy, greenish buds
  • dry capsule fruit that persists
  • rounded branching habit
  • yellow fall color


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Albus' (also listed as var. albus) - This form features white fruit.

'Nana' - This is a dwarf form only growing to 3' tall and wide. It apparently does not flower or fruit and it may not be as hardy as the species.

'Red Ace', 'Red Cascade' and 'Red Caps' - These three selections feature fruit that is abundant, long-lasting and red in color. Other traits are similar to the species.

© 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.