You are here
Euonymus americana - Strawberry Bush
Scientific Name: Euonymus americana
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.1 Bernard 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
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.
- Peggy Cornett, n.d.
- Coats, Alice M. Garden Shrubs and Their Histories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
- Dutton, Joan Parry. Plants of Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979.
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
- 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.
- 2. McMahon, The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806 (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997), 293.
- 3. See Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- 4. Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 85.
- 5. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 115.