Spindle (shrub)

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(Redirected from Euonymus)
Spindle
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Euonymus_europaeus.jpg



European Spindle foliage and fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Celastrales
Family:Celastraceae
Genus:Euonymus
Species

Euonymus alatus - Winged Spindle
Euonymus americanus - Strawberry-bush Spindle
Euonymus atropurpureus - Eastern Burning-bush
Euonymus europaeus - European Spindle
Euonymus fortunei - Fortune's Spindle
Euonymus japonicus - Japanese Spindle
Euonymus obovatus -
Euonymus occidentalis - Western Burning-bush

The spindles, genus Euonymus, comprise about 170-180 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees. They have a wide distribution in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America and Madagascar. The leaves are opposite (rarely alternate) and simple ovoid, typically 2-15 cm long, and usually with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are small, usually greenish white and inconspicuous.

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Spindle_fruit.jpg
Mature Spindle fruit, after splitting open to reveal the seeds

The fruit is a pink-red four- or five- valved pod-like berry, which splits open to reveal the fleshy-coated orange seeds. The seeds are eaten by frugivorous birds, which digest the fleshy seed coat and disperse the seeds in their droppings. All parts of the plants are poisonous to humans if eaten.

The wood was traditionally used for the making of spindles for spinning wool; this use is the origin of the English name of the shrubs.

Spindles are popular garden shrubs, grown for their foliage, the deciduous species often exhibiting very bright red fall colours, and also for the decorative berries.

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Firebushfoliage.jpg
Fall foliage of Winged Spindle (Euonymus alatus)
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Euonyjap.jpg
Foliage of Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus), an evergreen spindle from southern Japan
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Euonymus_japonicus.flowers.jpg
Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus)
leaves and flowers


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