Common Name: Strawberry Bush, Bursting Heart, Heart's-a-Bustin'
Thomas Jefferson called both the Euonymus americana and the Euonymus europaes a "spindle tree," and listed them as ornamental shrubs in his Notes on the State of Virginia.1Bernard McMahon also called this plant an "Evergreen Spindle-tree" in The American Gardener's Calendar.2 Jefferson included Euonymus in his 1804 plans for a garden or pleasure grounds.3
Euonymus was one of the first New World plants to be introduced to Britain by Bishop Compton in 1683.4 The first American citation was made by John Bartram in 1783.5
The strawberry bush is a deciduous, North American shrub with evergreen stems and creamy yellow flowers followed by beautiful, glossy red-orange berries that hang by a single thread from the warty seed capsule after bursting open.
1.Notes, ed. Peden, 40. European euonymus, or spindle tree, was so-named for the four-sided branches, which were used to make spindles. When Jefferson listed "Evergreen Spindle tree," he was probably alluding to the E. Americana despite the fact that it is less evergreen than the European species.