Autumn has once again begun to fill each of our senses in its special way. The crisp air smells cleaner somehow, and its light coolness forces us to shroud ourselves in sweaters. In early autumn the nighttime symphonies of crickets and their kin cascade through our bedroom windows. Possibly most striking to the senses, though, are the sights of fall. Verdant summer growth either slowly shrivels or exclaims loudly with a last burst of color. One plant that has captivated American gardeners with its brilliant fall foliage since around 1860, is unfortunately, no friend to our local habitats.
Known as either "Burning Bush" or Euonymous, (Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Siebold, winged euonymus, winged wahoo, winged spindle-tree, Japanese spindle-tree) it is an invasive plant in this region. In it's natural habitat in northeastern Asia, it was kept in control by the limits of its environment and natural enemies (pests and disease). In the United States it has proven that it can reproduce rapidly and prolifically, survive in many soil types under various weather conditions, and grow quickly. Once it escapes from it's proper place in a suburban or rural garden, it has been seen within just a few years taking over woodland areas, fields, and coastal scrubland as its dense thicket literally overshadows native species and crowds out native shrubs. Birds spread Burning Bush' numerous seeds and they easily take root.
Come back soon to learn what a gardener looking for brilliant fall color can do.