Euonymus latifolius (large-leaved spindle)
The large-leaved spindle is a shrub with scarlet fruits and brilliant red leaves in autumn.
About this species
Philip Miller (1691-1771), head gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden for nearly 50 years, described Euonymus latifolius in the 8th edition of his famous The Gardeners Dictionary (1768). It is particularly valued for the gorgeous red colour of its fruit and leaves in autumn, attributes that led to an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1916.
Peter Davis, editor of the Flora of Turkey, described a trip to southwestern Anatolia, where he ‘climbed to some shady rocks in the Abies [fir] forest and saw the very lovely sight of Euonymus latifolius in ripe fruit.’ The fruits ‘trembled above one on stalks as long as a cherry’s. It should certainly be planted where one can look up at its laden branches.’
Geography & Distribution
Euonymus latifolius is found from southern France and Spain, to Turkey, the Caucasus, the Crimea, northern Iraq and northwest Iran and in the south in Morocco and Algeria. It has been grown in British gardens since around 1730 and has become naturalised in parts of the country as a result of birds distributing seeds.
Euonymus latifolius (Image: Hermann Schachner)
Euonymus latifolius is a deciduous shrub up to 6 m, with graceful, arching branches, and oblong leaves 8–16 cm long. The green flowers are usually five-petalled and borne in groups on slender stems from May to June. These are followed in September to October by bright red fruits with four or five winged lobes, measuring 20 mm across and containing orange seeds
Illustration from Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Hand-coloured engraving of Euonymus latifolius by John Curtis (1823) taken from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (Image: RBG Kew)
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (Editor: Martyn Rix) provides an international forum of particular interest to botanists and horticulturists, plant ecologists and those with a special interest in botanical illustration.
Now well over two hundred years old, the Magazine is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants. Each four-part volume contains 24 plant portraits reproduced from watercolour originals by leading international botanical artists. Detailed but accessible articles combine horticultural and botanical information, history, conservation and economic uses of the plants described.
Published for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
See the Wiley-Blackwell Subscription Information page for rates (for both print and online).
Threats & Conservation
Euonymus latifolius is widespread, but not common in the wild.
Large-leaved spindle is grown as an ornamental.
Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage
The Millennium Seed Bank partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in Kew's seed bank vault at Wakehurst.
Description of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 26.5 g.
Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: One.
Composition values: Average oil content is 47.9% and average protein content is 20.8%.
This species at Kew
Pressed and dried specimens of Euonymus latifolius are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of some of these specimens, including images, can be seen on-line in the Herbarium Catalogue.
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
This species belongs to...
- newly discovered
- around the world
- of use
- ground breaking
- english garden
- garden plants
- english heritage
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