American Euonymus - Strawberry Bush - Hearts A Bustin
Another very unusual native plant is the American Euonymus. Most commonly referred to as Strawberry Bush or Hearts-A-Bustin, Euonymus Americanus goes unnoticed most of the year. Green stems are attractive in winter, especially to deer. Small greenish yellow flowers in spring are lovely, although inconspicuous, but in late summer the American Strawberry Bush begins to show off.
The common name 'Strawberry Bush' comes from the dark red seed capsules that look much like strawberries. The seed pods are showy, especially once the plant is large enough to display a large number of the pods. But when the seed capsules burst open, that's when they really capture some attention. The pods open to reveal bright orange fruits that are a sharp contrast to the dark red outer shell. Breathtaking, really. That's where the plant gets its other common name, Hearts-A-Bustin.
And, like many of our native plants, Euonymus Americanus is very easy to grow. Requiring only a little shade and regular water to get established, the American Euonymus is drought tolerant. Unlike other forms of Euonymus, American Euonymus is not invasive.
Found in the woods in the Southeast, the American Strawberry Bush is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.
If you like unusual plants, try American Euonymus, or Strawberry Bush. Not usually found in nurseries, but available by mailorder or online at specialty native plant nurseries such as Shady Gardens Nursery.