Thursday, March 29, 2007

Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

aka winged spindle

My husband planted a burning bush in our yard when I learned about color-enhancing components of leaves, so I became fascinated with this amazing shrub. It has very dark green leaves in spring and summer. In the fall it turns a bright, nearly-florescent red that is stunning! If it proved to be safe after a sufficient food trial, then I felt confident that it would have color-enhancing properties. So my food trial began. The results were very positive:
Leaves: The crabs ate these with much enthusiasm immediately heading for them on the first feeding. Dried or fresh makes no difference to the crabs. I fed green summer leaves and red fall leaves and got same good response.
Branches: The thin bark had been stripped off of the woody stem.
Fruit: The seed was ignored, but the bright red flesh of this grain-sized fruit was eaten off of the pit. (Flowers are insignificant and I did not test them.)
Burning bushes is a very common ornamental shrub sold for landscaping. Do not feed the leaves from the manicured yard of a neighbor or commercial building because these are almost certain to be laced with chemical fertilizers and treated with pesticides. They are native to NE Asia, N China, Japan & Korea, but have “escaped” from urban areas into the wild woodlands of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut, and Illinois and other Northeastern states as well as areas of the Midwest. It is considered invasive by many states, but may still be available at your local garden center if you want to plant your own.

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