Hidden amongst the hedgerows of much of the UK and Europe the spindle tree – Euonymus europaea outshines amongst the natives. Coming to life in the autumn, the spindle tree makes a great robust addition as a native hedgerow, a stand alone shrub or small garden tree.
Strangely the versatility of such an understated native tree is largely unknown, as well as being used to make spindle for holding wool, the creamy white wood is also used to make toothpicks and knitting needles.
Hedgerows throughout the UK come to life in spring and early summer with versions of frothy white sweetly scented flower panicles and blossom but the spindle remains a subtly of greenish white clusters of stars, against bland green leaves. Yet it’s the autumn that the spindle tree awakes a different fanfare.
The Spindle tree in autumn takes a bold tribal style with bright colours and dramatic displays, from the bright vibrant orange of the berry to the flushed pink of the Spindle leaf and pod.
The bright fruits however attractive are poisonous and can be fatal to livestock fortunately they are unlikely to graze. Plant with caution and familiarise yourself with many other poisonous plants and trees found in gardens throughout the UK.