Jun. 28, 2022

spindletree, Euonymus europaeus

These rather drab flowers wouldn't seem to attract much of our attention. And apparently this very poisonous genus was named after Euonyme, the mother of the Furies. But then there are the marvelous pink/purple fruit. Fall cascades of those are very attractive. The wood is hard and was indeed used to make spindles. Could the combination of poison and spindles account for its selection as the weapon in Sleeping Beauty's tale? Spindletree also is a primary source for artists charcoal. Soap is made from oil of Euonymus. All that adds up to the species being occasionally cultivated, and occasionally escaping. Now we occasionally cut them down at Ives Preserve, but they're not seriously invasive. Spindletree has been reported from CT, IL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WI, NB, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 5/1/12. Staff-tree family, Celastraceae.