Skip to main content


Euonymus macropterus


E. macropterus, is native to eastern Asia and came to Mustila from Sakhalin Island. It differs from the other spindle species at the Arboretum in its strong branches, large buds, and particularly large fruits. The first bright green shoots appear early in spring. The dangling seed cases which develop in late summer open lantern-like or propeller-shaped to release the orange-coated seeds.

The spindle (Euonymus) genus includes over 100 species, most of them native to Asia. Many are showy ornamentals suited to a wide range of sites; the biggest barrier to their more general use has probably been that they are poisonous. While it is true that eating large amounts of any of the parts of these plants will cause symptoms of poisoning to both humans and animals, on the other hand their unpleasant smell and taste aren’t really tempting.


Euonymus europaeus - common spindle


Common spindle is a deciduous, monoecious (i.e. male and female flowers on the same plant) species native to Europe, with only a wedge-shaped extension to its range extending into Asia, beyond the Caspian Sea.

The spindle’s flowers draw little attention but in autumn the fruit are much more attractive. They open into four red sections with dangling orange-coated seeds. In open situations the autumn colours, in shades of red, can also be impressive. There are several varieties available, whose fruits vary from white to crimson.

The wood of the spindle is bone-hard and lends itself to turning, e.g. in the making of spindles, if it is given enough time to achieve sufficient girth.


Euonymus planipes - dingle dangle tree

Euonymus planipes ©jr


The Euonymus-genus includes several beautiful species. To many, the dingle dangle tree is one of the best. Compared with its European relation, the common spindle tree (E. europaeus), this species is larger and more open in habit, with larger leaves. It also differs in its drooping branches and larger seed pods. In autumn colour it competes in beauty with the winged spindle (E. alatus).

At Mustila this Far Eastern beauty brightens Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) with handsome fruit and brilliant leaf colours in autumn, from pink to shades of red in the sun, but remaining white on shaded branches. In spring this is one of the first plants in leaf. The dingle dangle tree enjoys rich, shady spots to the extent that it regenerates spontaneously from seed, in places abundantly.


Syndicate content