Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Euonymus europaeus L.

Fully hardy, broadly conical, deciduous shrub or small tree, with spreading, somewhat pendant shoots, scalloped dark green leaves, to 7cm long, which turn red in autumn, and 4-lobed, clustered red fruit.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Probably an ancient garden plant.  ‘Euonymus. Spindle-tree. E. europaeus: shrub; leaves ovate-oblong, minutely toothed; flowers small, yellowish-green; fruit red, angular, opening at the angles and exposing a brilliant orange-coloured arillus, which envelopes the seeds. — Hedges and thickets. Fl. May.’  [Moore – British Wild Flowers p.55, pl.11/1867].

Called ‘Prickwood’ for its use in making skewers.  [Don].  Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.76/1825.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.437/1843].  Possibly introduced by Macarthur to assess its utility in making spindles and skewers.


Published Mar 15, 2009 - 03:40 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 02:38 PM

Illustrated are the dark green leaves and 4-lobed, clustered red fruit.  Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.76, 1825.

Euonymus europaeus L. | Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.76/1825 | BHL

Family Celastraceae
Region of origin

Europe including Britain to Siberia

Common Name

Common spindle tree, Prickwood

Name in the Camden Park Record

Euonymus Europeus - Spindle tree 

Confidence level high