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Pink Lady Euonymous


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Euonymous bungeana
FAMILY: Celastraceae

This tree in Colorado A widely adaptable, small tree. Native to northern China and Mancheria. Does well in southeast Colorado. Tolerates poor soils and drought conditions, is easy to transplant, and is quite insect and disease free. Should be used a great deal more in the eastern plains and foothills. Has merit as a patio or specimen tree around single story dwellings (Leaves and fruit may be mildly toxic if eaten in quantity.). It is distinctly different from other species of Euonymus in that it has very light green foliage.

Hardiness Zone 4.

Growth rate, form and size Moderate grower. Round to oval-headed, small tree. 15 to 20 feet tall with a 10 to 12 foot spread. Medium texture.

Foliage Opposite, simple. The leaves are 2 to 4 inches in length and 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. Oval to slightly ovate-elongate, tapering to an abrupt point at the tip and with a saw-toothed margin. The leaves are light green turning pink to red in the fall. Borne on slender petioles, the heavy leaves tend to droop and give the small tree a peculiar limp appearance.

Flowers Yellowish. Not showy. 3 to 7 per cluster.

Fruit The fruit is a four-lobed capsule, about ¼ to ½ inch across. When opening in the fall, the capsule exposes the bright-red coating of the seed. Just prior to ripening, the seed capsules have an attractive pinkish cast.

Bark The young stems and branches are entirely green, while the older ones are gray.

Cultivars ‘Pendula’ weeping branches; ‘Sempersistens’ half evergreen foliage; ‘Pink Lady’ a seed-propagated cultivar, released by the Soil Conservation Service in 1972 is a prolific fruit producer and the fruits remain after the leaves drop, creating quite a show in the fall.

Landscape value Tolerates a wide range of growing conditions – particularly well-adapted to dry soils. Appears to tolerate most soils and exposures. Sometimes used for windbreaks and screens. Grows with vigor under good moisture conditions. In dry land areas responds to mulching. Winterberry euonymous has proven to be exceptionally chlorosis-free throughout the southern Plains.

Related species Euonymous europaea, European spindle tree, is similar in appearance but is less tolerant of growing conditions and the leaves are more rounded. May reach 15 to 20 feet tall is hardy in Zone 3.

Information sources
Carl E. Whitcomb, Know It & Grow It III – A Guide to the Identification and Use of Landscape Plants (1996)
Allen J. Coombes, Trees The Visual Guide to more than 500 species of trees around the World (1992)
E.W. Johnson, Ornamental Shrubs for the Southern Great Plains, Farmers’ Bulletin No. 2025 (USDA, 1958)