Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for American Strawberry-bush - Euonymus americanus   L.
Members of Celastraceae:
Members of Euonymus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Celastrales » Family Celastraceae
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DistributionEssentially statewide, though of spotty occurrence in the extreme eastern part of the state. No records for a few mainland counties around Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, but might be present in all 100 counties.

This is mainly a Southern species, ranging north only to southern NY and MO, south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceCommon to very common across the state, except uncommon (if not rare) in a few areas in the far eastern counties. It is seen on most forest walks by biologists, except in the lower Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a very widespread species in all types of mesic to rich forests and woodlands, including some wetlands. It is most common in Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, but occurs as well in bottomland forests, some types of Basic Mesic Forests, Rich Cove Forests, and into drier sites such as various pine-oak or oak-hickory forests.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June; fruits in September and October.
IdentificationThis is a rather slender erect to leaning deciduous shrub, growing to about 4-6 feet tall. Its leaves have essentially no petiole, and thus the opposite, lanceolate leaves (with narrowed tips) appear sessile; leaves reach about 2-2.5 inches long. They are finely serrate and somewhat shiny above. The twigs and larger branches are green and are 4-sided/angled. The narrow and sessile opposite leaves, coupled with green twigs and stems, are normally enough to clinch the identification; however, it has its “namesake” red fruit appearing in fall. It has a warty red capsule that splits open to reveal several red “berries”, also giving the name of “Hearts-a-busting”. The flowers are pale greenish-yellow, with five petals, mostly in a single plane.
Taxonomic CommentsAt times it has been written as E. americana.

Other Common Name(s)Strawberry-bush, Bursting-heart, Hearts-a-busting
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSame place, Oct 2015. RichmondPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieOld Cheraw Road near Solomon's Creek, May 2015. RichmondPhoto_natural
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