Scientific Name:
Euonymus europaea
Toxic Parts:
cardiac glycosides
Flower Color:
ornamental, woodlands, fields, hedges

Geographical Distribution

European spindletree distribution - United States

European Spindletree

Euonymus europaea

Wahoo, Burning bush
8/ 10
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) is a large, vigorous, deciduous shrub or small tree with oval leaves and distinctive, colorful fruits. It is native to Europe but has been introduced worldwide for ornamental purposes. It has opposite, lanceolate to elliptical leaves with finely serrated edges that are dark green in the summer, turning yellow-green to reddish-purple in the autumn. It produces small yellowish-green, inconspicuous hermaphrodite flowers late spring which produce purple to pink capsular fruit that ripen in the autumn.

Toxic components
E. europaeus fruit are toxic to poultry if ingested, as they contain a digitalis-like cardioactive steroid and several alkaloids that cause gastrointestinal irritation.


  • diarrhea
  • weakness


MECHANICAL: Seedlings can be easily hand-pulled, especially when the soil is moist. Larger plants and their root systems can be dug out with a spading fork or pulled with a weed wrench. The flowers can be trimmed off to eliminate seed production. Larger shrub can be cut. The stump must be ground out o the re-growth clipped. Once the site has been treated, it is important to replant with native vegetation to prevent further invasion.

BIOLOGICAL None available.

CHEMICAL: Glyphosate can be applied as a foliar spray. It is most effective during the early summer months. For stems too tall for foliar sprays, apply Garlon 4 as a 20-percent solution in commercially available basal oil, diesel fuel, or kerosene (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix) with a penetrant to young bark as a basal spray (January to February or May to October).