Strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) has one of the coolest seed heads of any plant in the wild (in my opinion). This shade loving, tree hugging shrub loves to grow right next to Oak tree trunks. It will tolerate wet or dry soils and the leaves are an important food source especially in the winter for deer and rabbits.
This poor shrub is usually mistaken for a weed when it is found growing right up next to a tree trunk of a tree in the woods. However, in the fall it is a show stopper as you approach the bright red seeds dangling from the seed pod. I enjoy my walks in my subdivision in the fall because the pops of bright red are everywhere beckoning me to take a closer look.
These bright red seeds also attract a handful of woodland birds to snack on them.
What is interesting about this plant is the flowers have 5 petals which will produce the 5 bright red berries in the seed pod in the fall. After the bloom fades, the round off white pod sits there on the bush until August when it turns a vibrant raspberry color. Then around September and in to October, the bright red seeds burst out revealing the bright red seeds.
Even though this shrub is not grown for its blooms or even foliage, it is still a great addition to your woodland garden or nature area because it offers a food source to the wildlife and it will colonize itself without human intervention. The Strawberry bush grows in zones 5b-10b and will grow in part sun to shade, dry or wet, and will grow back even after the deer munch off all the leaves.
The Strawberry bush has other names -also known as Hearts a bustin’ and American Strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus). It is a native shrub that grows anywhere from 4′-10′ high and sends out suckers or shoots to colonize an area. It can easily be divided and planted in a woodland or native area. The Strawberry bush grows well with other native trees and shrubs and does not seem to mind being crowded.
This is one bush that I have been watching grow and it seems to keep the deer out of my yard eating my azaleas. I hope one day that the bush spreads another 50 feet to block my back yard and provide the food source for the herd of 6-9 deer that roam through the common areas in the back of my yard. So far the Strawberry bush is protecting my azaleas in the corner of the back yard from being devoured…
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2014-16 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller