Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

Euonymus americanus – Strawberry bush

Flowers: inconspicuous cream colored
Foliage: Deciduous, opposite, lanceolate to 4" long and 1" wide on green stems.
Exposure: Performs best in part shade
Water: Medium. Water well when young
Habit: Thicket-forming to six feet with open habit
Uses: Native mixed border, informal hedge, woodland massing, wildlife habitat, fall show.

We’ve come to admire strawberry bush, brook euonymus, ‘Hearts-a-Burstin’ - or whatever else common name exists - as a special native, a special feature in the shady forests of East Texas. Deer find the plant hard to pass by and are taking a heavy toll on this preferred browse in areas where their numbers are great. The key feature of this green-stemmed shrub is the fall fruit display. Scarlet capsules open to reveal bright orange. The fruit show persists for about a month. In fruit, this plant always elicits a favorable response. While supposedly susceptible to all of the maladies of Euonymus, we have not experienced much trouble with scale or whiteflies in the garden.

There are several hard-to-find clones in the trade. From time to time, Woodlanders has sold a Florida ecotype touted as evergreen; it has been semideciduous for us, leafing out early with thin leaves that persist into the winter but this clone has not been blessed with much of a fruit display. There is another "narrow-leaf" clone floating around that appears to have few significant attributes over the normal range of clones. We have one "northern" clone that puts on a brief showy fall foliage display, a kind of a whitish cream splash under the patriarch pines in the Arboretum.

Propagation is easy. Seed should be treated with a three-month warm stratification followed by three or four months of cold moist. Cuttings can be rooted any time of the year and the plant, being a thicket former, is easy to divide and multiply for the landscape.

Dr. David Creech