Euonymus americanus James Miller

Euonymus americanus
James Miller

Class
Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Family
Celastraceae (Bittersweet Family)
State Protection
Endangered
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
S1
Global Conservation Status Rank
G5

Summary

Did you know?

One of the common names, hearts-a-burstin', comes from the way the orange seeds appear to burst from the red fruit when it is mature. These showy fruits certainly make up for the small drab flowers. Shrubs are readily available in the nursery trade but New York is at the northern end of its range so cultivation may not always be successful.

State Ranking Justification

There are five existing populations but none of them exceed 50 plants. There are 14 records known from the late 1800s through 1928 but six of them are extirpated due to habitat destruction and the other seven have not been resurveyed in detail.

Short-term Trends

Short-term trends are unknown due to lack of recent surveys of existing populations.

Long-term Trends

This plant has always been very rare in New York but populations have decreased in the last 100 years because of development in Western Long Island and the New York City area.

Conservation and Management

Threats

All populations exist in small green spaces surrounded by development. These highly-visited areas provide less opportunity for plants to reproduce and thrive.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Plants must be protected from overt human disturbance and existed populations should be augmented.

Research Needs

Research should be undertaken to determine methods of effective propagation to augment existing populations.

Habitat

Habitat

In New York the plants can be found in wet areas of successional southern hardwoods, small old growth red maple/tupelo swamps along streams, red maple swamps, and in wet areas of mixed deciduous beech and sweetgum forest. (New York Natural Heritage Program 1998). Rich woods and ravines (Fernald 1970). Moist woods (Gleason & Cronquist 1991).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Red maple-blackgum swamp (guide)
  • Red maple-hardwood swamp (guide)
  • Red maple-sweetgum swamp (guide)
  • Successional southern hardwoods

Associated Species

  • Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
  • Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet-gum)
  • Magnolia virginiana
  • Nyssa sylvatica (black-gum, sour-gum)
  • Prunus serotina
  • Quercus alba (white oak)
  • Quercus rubra (northern red oak)
  • Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
  • Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaved viburnum)

Range

New York State Distribution

This shrub is currently known from Staten Island and Nassau County on Long Island but historical records exist north from Queens through the Bronx to Rockland County with a disjunct record in Monroe County near Rochester.

Global Distribution

This is a species of the Southeastern United States. It ranges from Florida to East Texas, north to Arkansas and east to New Jersey. Its northern limits skirt the southern counties of Missouri, Illnois, Indiana, and Ohio. Its northeastern limit reaches a handful of counties in Pennsylvania and New York where it is rare.

Best Places to See

  • Latourette Park (Richmond County)

Identification Comments

General Description

This is an erect shrub with stiffly divergent branches. The uppermost leaves are lanceolate to ovate with petioles 1-5 mm long. The small flowers have 5 sepals and 5 greenish-purple petals that are narrowed at the base. The crimson fruit has 3-5 lobes and is covered in little projections (tuberculate).

Identifying Characteristics

Distinguishing characteristics: Erect shrub with stiffly divergent branches; uppermost leaves lanceolate to ovate; petioles 1-5 mm long; flowers 5-merous. Best life stage for ID: in fruit or flower. Characteristics needed to ID: may be identified vegetatively.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

The best time to identify the plant is when it is in flower or fruit although it may be identified in leaf only.

Similar Species

Euonymus alatus has a winged stem and a 4-merous flower. E. obovatus is a trailing shrub, possibly with a few ascending branches and obovate uppermost leaves.

Best Time to See

Vegetative shoots start growing March through April, flowering begins early May and last until mid-July, fruits persist to mid-November.

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find American Strawberry Bush vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.

American Strawberry Bush Images


Images of Similar Species

Taxonomy

American Strawberry Bush
Euonymus americanus L.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Celastrales
          • Family Celastraceae (Bittersweet Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Strawberry-bush
  • Bursting-heart
  • Hearts-a-bursting
  • Hearts-a-bursting-with-love

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Other References

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Newcomb, Lawrence. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York

Links

About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young

Information for this guide was last updated on: September 20, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Euonymus americanus. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/american-strawberry-bush/. Accessed March 19, 2019.

Back to top