The burning bush invades

On Monday November 8th, my mentors and I went out scavenging to find an invasive species called winged euonymus. This species is also known as burning bush. On our walk through the Indian Ridge Reservation, we found over 30 burning bushes with the help of ones already marked off with a pink ribbon by one of AVIS’ rangers. When we were looking for the burning bushes, we noticed that the leaves were still mostly green even when the native plants had been changing color for fall foliage. In the bottom left photo you can see a couple of leaves on this bush are turning the bright red color. This bush is known for its bright red/magenta colors which helps make it easier to spot once the bush fully changes in color. Another way to spot this plant is to look at the stem shown in the bottom right photo showing the stem with “wings” coming off of it. This plant can grow up to ten feet tall, which you think would help you spot it easier but without trying to look for it when it has its green leaves you might think it’s just another green plant. 

This is another plant, like porcelain berries, where the birds like to feed on the berries. This causes the plant to spread easier. Another way this plant spreads is when people use these as yard plants. For a while this plant was a common yard plant despite it being invasive. This bush has a high reproductive rate and can outcompete native plants for land. The burnish bush continues to photosynthesize longer than our native plants that gives this bush the advantage over native plants which disrupts our ecosystem. Massachusetts has banned burning bush and other invasive plants that people like to plant in their yard. You can find out more information on the ban of these species here.

If you would like to read more about winged euonymus (burning bush) you can click on this link from Mass Audubon. 

Or you can look at this link that also gives you burning bush replacement suggestions that are native to our area. One plant you can replace this bush with is the highbush blueberry plant that changes a similar red color as the Winged euonymus but gives the benefit of being native.

3 thoughts on “The burning bush invades

    • Author gravatar

      i now know that I have a Burning Bush in my yard. Didn’t know before hearing about it through AVIS. This blog helps me to understand it and the suggestion for replacement is helpful. Thank you.

    • Author gravatar

      Hi, Amber. This blog is a fantastic idea! Thank you for creating it and sharing what you’re learning about the reservations. A useful addition would be allowing interested folks to subscribe so that we get emails when you post a new entry. See You might also add a link to AVIS on your main page so appreciative readers can support them and your work. Thanks again!

    • Author gravatar

      I’m pleased to learn about the Burning Bush. These plants are prolific throughout our forests and neighborhoods and their impact on the natural environment is not widely understood. I’m looking forward to reading more of your observations as the schools year progresses.

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