Spindle berries by Elizabeth Dack 1/2
Spindle by Elizabeth Dack 2/2

Spindle Euonymus europaeus

Commonly found in woodland and hedgerows, this plant is often identified in autumn by its beautiful red fruit and red leaves.

Conservation status

The spindle tree is native to most of Europe and is found in all of the UK except Scotland especially in areas with chalky soils.
 
Although not of conservation concern it is an important to a wide range of insect species including magpie, spindle ermine and scorched carpet moths as well as a range of micro moths and holly blue butterflies. Aphids are often found on spindle trees and it supports their predators including ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies. These also provide food for birds.
 
The spindle tree is susceptible to spider mite, vine weevil and sap-feeding scale insect all of which can cause dieback.

Details

Did you know? The wood of the spindle tree is hard and dense and was used to make spindles for spinning wool as well as skewers, toothpicks and knitting needles.
 
The leaves and fruit are toxic to humans and most animals but the berries were ground up and used as laxative. The fruit were also baked and ground up being used a treatment for head lice in humans and mange in cattle.

The wood is used to make good quality charcoal for artists.

 
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Related questions & advice

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