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Common Name: Japanese Spindle Tree
Fruits opening to reveal the seeds
Photograph by: Qwert1234
Trimmed and grown as a formal hedge
Photograph by: Yuriy Kvach
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Variegated plant, grown as an ornamental
Photograph by: Not known
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Euonymus japonicus is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 4.50 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
The seed is probably poisonous, other parts of the plant may also be poisonous[
E. Asia - Japan. Locally naturalized in S. Europe.
Slopes in thickets and woods, especially near the sea[
Thriving in almost any soil, including chalk and sandy soils, it is particularly suited to dry shaded areas[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Shade tolerant but does not fruit well in such a position[
]. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil[
]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure, succeeding even when grown on the sea shore[
], but they can be killed by cold drying winds[
A very ornamental plant[
], there are a number of named varieties[
]. It is only hardy in S. England[
] tolerating temperatures down to about -10°c[
]. Plants are more likely to succumb to the cold if they are regularly trimmed (this exposes young growth to the cold), this regular trimming also leads to mildew especially when plants are growing in very dry ground[
The Japanese spindle tree is cultivated in Russia and Spain for the latex contained in the root. It is best grown in a dry soil and an open position when being grown for its latex[
Plants are often slow to get established.
Plants can be susceptible to attacks by caterpillars[
] and are often damaged during the flowering season[
]. They are also a host of the sugar beet fly[
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
Young leaves - boiled[
]. The old leaves are powdered and used to colour food[
]. These reports should be treated with some caution due to the report of toxicity - see above.
The stem bark is antirheumatic, diuretic and tonic[
The leaf is used in cases of difficult delivery[
Roots and stems yield up to 7% gutta-percha, a non elastic rubber used as an electrical insulator and in making plastics etc[
Can be grown as a hedge, it is very tolerant of trimming and succeeds in severe maritime exposure[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification, so should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[
]. Seed can take 18 months to germinate[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 7cm long taken at a node or with a heel, mid summer in a frame. Very easy[
Cuttings of mature wood, early autumn in a frame78,
]. Cuttings will root readily at any time of the year if given bottom heat[
Root cuttings in winter.