European Spindle Tree Outshines Amongst the Natives

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.



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Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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