Bill Johnson

Winged Burning Bush

Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb.
Bittersweet Family (Celastraceae)

Origin: Northeastern Asia, Japan and Central China

Winged burning bush, also known as winged wahoo and winged euonymus, was introduced to the U.S. around 1860 as an ornamental plant for use in landscaping. Despite its invasive nature, it remains very popular and is widely sold for its hardiness, winged stems and intense red foliage in the fall. It is ubiquitous and can be found planted along roadways, at commercial and industrial sites and in park and residential landscapes.

Distribution and Habitat
In the United States, winged burning bush is found from New England to northern Florida and the Gulf Coast and also in Illinois.

Ecological Threat
It threatens a variety of habitats including forests, coastal scrublands and prairies where it forms dense thickets, displacing many native woody and herbaceous plant species. Hundreds of seedlings are often found below the parent plant in what is termed a “seed shadow.”

Description and Biology

Bill Johnson

Prevention and Control
Do not plant winged burning bush. Manual, mechanical and chemical means are available to control established plantings. Seedlings can be pulled by hand. Shrubs can be repeatedly cut to the ground to control re-sprouts, or cut and treated with systemic herbicides like glyphosate and triclopyr (see Control Options).


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Last updated:11-Nov-2010