Euonymus alatus
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: winged spindle tree 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Celastraceae
Native Range: Northeastern Asia to Middle China
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Yellow-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Black Walnut
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates close to full shade, but usually at the expense of diminished fall color quality. This is an adaptable shrub that tolerates a wide range of soils except for wet, poorly-drained ones. Plants appreciate consistent moisture, particularly when grown in full sun locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euonymus alatus, commonly called winged euonymus, burning bush, winged burning bush or winged spindle tree, is a dense, mounded, spreading, flat-topped, multi-stemmed shrub that is particularly noted for its fiery red fall foliage color. It is native to forests, woodlands and scrub areas in eastern Russia, Japan, China and Korea. It was introduced into the U.S. around 1860 as an ornamental, and over time has become an extremely popular shrub for homes, commercial properties and along highways. This shrub will mature over time to 15-20' tall, but is often pruned shorter. Elliptic to obovate, crenulate to serrulate, green leaves (to 3” long) turn bright red in fall. Fall color can be spectacular. Small, yellowish-green flowers appear in May but are not showy. Small fruits (1/3” red capsules) ripen in fall. Fruit capsules split open when ripe to reveal the tiny seeds (each encased in a fleshy orange-red aril). Seeds are attractive to certain birds who eat and distribute them. Greenish-brown stems have distinctive corky ridges ("wings" as used in the common name). Corky-winged stems are more noticeable in winter after leaf drop. Winged euonymus has escaped plantings and naturalized in at least 21 eastern and mid-western states. In some areas, it is now considered to be a threat to native plants because of its ability to establish itself in woodlands, forests, fields, roadsides and disturbed areas where, if conditions are favorable, it will out-compete native plants to form dense thickets.

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

Specific epithet means winged.

More compact forms (4-10' tall) are also available (e.g., Euonymus alatus 'Compactus' and Euonymus alatus 'Rudy Haag').


No serious insect or disease problems. Twig blight may occur, particularly in wet soil conditions. Watch for spider mites.


This shrub produces excellent fall color. Specimen/accent, group or mass. Foundations, shrub borders, screen or hedge.