Native to much of Europe, Spindle ‘Euonymus Europaeus’ a species of the Celastraceae family, is a fine addition to any hedgerow and commonly used in native country hedgerow mixes adding superb autumnal colour with its green leaves turning rich pinkish-red, a similar colour to its intriguing fruits. Unusually the green stems of this fast growing deciduous shrub or small tree start off round, becoming very distinctive as they turn square with corky markings before returning to round as they grow and mature.
A tough and reliable shrub or small tree, it has fairly insignificant small yellow flowers in spring very attractive to insects and bees which are followed in autumn by unique and exquisite vivid pink four lobed fruits covering orange seeds. Spindle is a hardy fast growing shrub making it excellent to provide quick cover, along with being resistant to frost and wind. It is unlikely to grow above 6 metres even on its preferred chalky soil.
In years gone by, Spindle wood was used to make Spindles for spinning and holding wool hence its name. The wood is very hard and can be cut to a sharp point, the creamy white, hard and dense timber was also used to make skewers, toothpicks, pegs and knitting needles. The fruits used to be baked and powered, using the powder to treat head lice or mange in cattle! As well as being a useful hedging plant or ornamental shrub, the timber from Spindle is used today to make high quality charcoal for artists making it a profitable shrub to grow.