Shrub or small tree to 12 m tall Leaves: opposite, short-stalked, oblong or elliptic to egg-shaped with a pointed tip, toothed. Flowers: greenish white, four-petaled, with purple anthers. Fruit: a deeply four-lobed, pink to purple capsule, splitting to reveal seeds covered by an orange to red coating (aril). Twigs: green, becoming brownish red, rounded.
Similar species: Similar Euonymus species of the Chicago Region can be distinguished by a few key characteristics. Euonymus alata has distinctly corky, two- to four-winged stems. Euonymus atropurpurea has purple flowers, purple to red fruits with bright red seeds, and leaves with hairy undersides. Euonymus bungeanum has yellowish green flowers with purple anthers, pink to yellowish fruits with pinkish orange coated seeds, and leaf stalks over 12 mm long. Euonymus europaea has yellowish green flowers with yellow anthers, yellow to pink fruits with orange coated seeds, and leaf stalks less than 12 mm long.
Flowering: late May to early June
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Asia, this species sometimes escapes cultivation. It has been found in rich woods of Berrien County, in sandy soil near a trail at Long Lake in Porter County, and at Blackwell Forest Preserve in DuPage County.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Euonymus is the ancient Greek name for the genus.