Euonymus hederaceus Champ. & Benth.Euonymus hederaceus Champ. & Benth.
Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz., Winter Creeper
May be confused with the following native and/or non-native species.
Landscape Alternatives lists native horticultural substitutes
HeightWinter Creeper is an evergreen woody vine climbing to 40 to 70 feet (12 to 22 m) and clinging by aerial roots or rooting at nodes, or standing as a shrub to 3 feet (1 m) in height.
StemThe twigs are stout, lime green, and hairless, becoming increasingly dusted and streaked with light-gray to reddish corky bark. Patches or lines of protruding aerial roots underneath or along surfaces are used for attachment. Branching is opposite. The leaf scars are thin upturned white crescents, and branch scars jut outward and contain a light semicircle. Older stems are covered with gray corky bark becoming fissured and then checked.
LeavesLeaves are opposite, broadly oval, moderately thick, with bases tapering to petiole and measure 1 to 2.5 inches (2.5 to 6 cm) long and 1 to 1.8 inches (2.5 to 4.5 cm) wide. Leaf margins are finely crenate, somewhat turned under, to wavy, and the blades are smooth, glossy, hairless, dark green with whitish mid- and lateral veins (or variegated green white above and light green beneath). Petioles are 0.15 to 0.4 inch (0.4 to 1 cm) long.
FlowersAxillary clusters of small greenish-yellow inconspicuous flowers appear May to July at the ends of Y-shaped stems. Each flower is 0.1 inch (2 to 3 mm) wide with five petals. Pistils soon elongate with fruit.
Fruit and seedsDangling paired or single pinkish-to-red capsules, 0.2 to 0.4 inch (5 to 10 mm) long, split open to reveal a fleshy orange-to-red covered seed in September to November.
ImagesPhoto: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
More images of Eunoymus fortunei
Ecology and HabitatWinter Creeper forms a dense ground cover and can climb trees eventually overtopping them. It is shade tolerant, occurring under dense stands but avoiding wet areas. It can colonize by trailing and climbing vines that root at nodes, and it is spread by bird-, other animal-, and water-dispersed seeds. Winter Creeper is in the Celastraceae of Staff-Tree family.
Origin and DistributionWinter Creeper was introduced from Asia in 1907. It has been widely use as an ornamental groundcover. Other states where invasive: AL, CT, DC, GA, IN, KY, MD, MO, OH, VA, WI.
Source: Information on this plant page is derived primarily from James H. Miller's Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests, USDA Forest Service.
Management Recommendations3. Mechanical Control
Cutting: Cut all vertical climbing stems to prevent fruiting and spread by birds.
Foliar Spray MethodThoroughly wet all leaves (until runoff) with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant (July to October for successive years):
Tordon 101 â€¡ as a 3-percent solution (12 ounces per 3-gallon mix) or
Tordon K â€¡ as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix).
Or, repeatedly apply Garlon 4 or a glyphosate herbicide as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix) in water with a surfactant, a less effective treatment that has no soil activity to damage surrounding plants.
Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.
â€¡When using Tordon herbicides, rainfall must occur within 6 days after application for needed soil activation. Tordon herbicides are Restricted Use Pesticides.