Euonymous fortunei, a Portrait of an Invasive

Have you ever wondered why some plants are considered invasive? It's usually because if the growing conditions are even slightly favorable they take over. Invasiveness can be due to a number of traits like rapid growth, prolific reseeding, and rooting vine habits. Euonymous fortunei is one such plant in which I have observed to have at least two of these traits. It demonstrates rapid growth which by itself doesn't doom it to the invasive list, but it also shows the ability to root anywhere, anytime, and anyhow!

It's variegated leaves make it attractive to plant in foundation gardens but if you look closely you will see a patch of aerial roots. These roots are capable of making a new plant where ever they may find suitable soil. Many plants that tend to have vine-like growth have the ability to root like this. The roots can help anchor them to other surfaces which aids them in their quest to conquer walls, fences, and other solid surfaces. Think ivy. This particular Euonymous is 'Emerald Gaiety' which is "supposed" to be a shrub form. Guess what? Someone forgot to tell it that! We have two in our sidewalk garden that I must keep well trimmed or else they will take over the world! Maybe not in the way kudzu will, a little slower perhaps, but you get the point.

This is one of those plants that is probably better left on the store shelves. It looks nice, but sure doesn't play that way!

Pictures with tulips are from Spring of 2008

Labels: ,