Burning Bush Euonymus Alatus


Burning bush, or winged euonymus is a shrub native to eastern Asia, central and northern China, Japan, and Korea. It was introduced as a landscaping plant as early as the 1860s.


Burning bush is a deciduous shrub standing 5 to 10 feet tall with approximately the same width. Mature plants may grow up to 20 feet high.
This shrub is multi stemmed and has an opposite branching pattern. Stems are covered in 2 to 4 inch corky wings, which is a great way to identify this species. It has oval leaves, 1 to 3 inches long that turn a brilliant red in the fall. This plant is able to grow in full sun as well as full shade giving it the advantage over natives. Growing conditions are highly adaptable and but it prefers well drained soils.


The seeds of this plant are eaten by birds then by passing through their digestive tract are viable. Seeds dispersed this way germinate easily and spread the infestation to other areas.


This shrub can form dense thickets that can prevent native species from growing. The seeds are also well liked by various bird species and can spread to areas that are not yet affected. They are hard to control because of the large amount of seed that are produced annually. The shrub was widely planted along highways and in developments for its colorful foliage in the fall.


Hand pulling is acceptable for small saplings of this species, with mechanical removal and a "cut-and-dab" chemical treatment needed for larger bushes. A weed wrench would be good for this kind of plant. Make sure to bag all limbs that may contain seed pods to prevent the spread of the plant. Foliar spray is not recommended as it can be harmful to the surrounding floura and fauna. See the invasive removal page for how to carry out these methods. Any removal within 100 feet of wetland resource areas, including certified vernal pools, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream may require approval from the Concord Natural Resources Commission. Please contact the Division of Natural Resources before you begin.


The following native plants can serve as a good replacement to burning bush in a garden:
  • Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
  • Sumac (Rhus aromatica, Rhus typhina)
  • Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)