Euonymus americanus
Common Name: strawberry bush
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Celastraceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Green to greenish-yellow with purple stamens
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euonymus americanus, commonly known as strawberry bush, is a multi-stemmed, suckering, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-6’ tall. It is native to wooded slopes, moist understory forest areas, low sandy woods, ravines and streambanks from New York south to Florida and west through Pennsylvania to Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and eastern Texas. Range in Missouri is limited to the far southeastern corner of the State including Crowleys Ridge and the Bootheel.

This shrub is somewhat sprawling when young, but becomes more erect as it matures. It features green stems, medium green leaves with fine marginal teeth, inconspicuous 5-petaled greenish-yellow flowers from the leaf axils in May-June and warty crimson red fall fruits purportedly resembling strawberries hence the common name of strawberry bush. Thin spreading branches are clad with oblong to elliptic leaves (to 3” long) with crenulate margins, narrow to rounded bases and sharply pointed tips. Each leaf has 5-7 pairs of ascending veins which disappear prior to reaching the margins. Leaves turn dark orange-red in fall. Spring flowers bloom from the leaf axils on pedicils to 1” long. Each flower (1/3” across) has 5 pale green to greenish yellow petals with purple stamens. Most flowers in the genus have 4 petals, but this species has 5. Although the flowers are not showy, they are followed in fall by extremely showy, warty, crimson red fall fruits (to 3/4” diameter). Each fruit is a 5-lobed capsule which splits open when ripe (hence the sometimes used common name of bursting heart)

Genus name is an ancient Greek name referring to plants of this genus.

Specific epithet means native to America.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for euonymus scale. Mites, leaf miner, aphids, mealybugs and crown gall are common. Witches’ broom, stem dieback, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spots may appear. Deer love to eat the foliage of this plant.

Garden Uses

Foundations. Hedge. Specimen/accent. Group/mass. Native woodland plantings. Woodland margins.