T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Euonymus europaeus (European spindle tree)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Celastrales
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Euonymus
Species: E. europaeus
Binomial name: Euonymus europaeus
Synonyms: Euonymus multiflorus, Euonymus floribundus, Euonymus europaeus var. macrophyllus, Euonymus europaeus var. intermedius, Euonymus bulgaricus, Euonymus vulgaris, Euonymus angustifolius.
Common names: European spindle, Common spindle, Spindle, Fusoria, Fusanum.

This plant is poisonous
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html  
Listed under Spindle trees.

Euonymus europaeus is a deciduous much-branched shrub or small tree which can grow up to up to 6 m high. It is native to much of Europe. The young twigs are green and 4-angled. The dark green leaves are lanceolate to elliptical, 3-8 cm long and 1-3 cm broad and have a finely serrated edge. In autumn the leaves turn red. Its inflorescence has 2-15 hermaphrodite flowers, each with small greenish yellow petals.
The 4-angled capsular fruit ripens in autumn. The aril is red to purple or pink in colour and approximately 1-1.5 cm wide. When ripe, the four lobes split open to reveal four orange seeds.

In New Zealand its found in the lower half of the North Island but is common in some lowland areas of the South Island. Its wild habitat is roadsides, forest edges, scrubland, hedges and waste places.

The fruit of Euonymus europaeus is poisonous, containing, amongst other substances, the alkaloids theobromine and caffeine, as well as an extremely bitter terpene. Poisonings are more common in young children, who are enticed by the brightly coloured fruits. Ingestion can result in liver and kidney damage and even death.

The four seed pod.