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 japonicus Thunb.

Frost hardy, dense, bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree with toothed, obovate leaves, to 6cm long, and small white flowers followed by spherical, pink-tinged white fruits, which are not always produced.  To 4m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘In all respects this corresponds with the account given by Thunberg, of the Iso Curoggi, or black shore-tree, of the Japanese, even to the sporting into a silver blotched variety, also in our gardens.  He says it is in Japan a bush about as high as a man.  With us it is not yet higher than three or four feet, but it has all the appearance of becoming much larger.  Although no beauty is to be found in its flowers, this plant is of the same kind of value as the common Laurel, Phyllireas, and Alaternus, being a hardy Evergreen shrub, with much the appearance of a small leaved Orange.  It is true that in very severe winters it is liable to be killed to the ground, but so are the Bay, the Ilex, and others; it however springs up again and rapidly forms a new bush. […] It is called in many places, “Chinese Box”, the name it bore when first introduced from Belgium.’  [BR f.6/1844].  ‘Interesting trees and shrubs in autumn, their opening capsules looking very beautiful when other things are losing their attraction.’  [JD].  A useful hedging species, first cultivated in Europe in 1804.  [Don].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.438/1843].


Euonymus japonicus Wall. (1824) = E. lucidus D.Don, syn. E. pendulus Wall., a Himalayan species introduced in 1850.  [Hilliers’].  

Published Mar 15, 2009 - 03:48 PM | Last updated Mar 18, 2010 - 11:39 AM

Illustrated are the toothed, obovate leaves and tiny white flowers.  Botanical Register f.6, 1844.

Euonymus japonicus Thunb. | BR f.6/1844 | RBGS

Family Celastraceae
Region of origin

China, Japan, Korea

Common Name

Japanese spindle tree

Name in the Camden Park Record

Euonymus Japonicus - Japan spindle tree 

Confidence level high