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Burning Bush

Burning bush after color change.

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Common Name: Burning Bush
Scientific Name: Euonymus alatus
Origin: Central China and Japan


Burning bush is an ornamental woody shrub that is easily recognized by its vibrant red to purple fall foliage and can reach up to 15 feet in height. Its leaves are dark green in the spring and summer, opposite, elliptic in shape and have finely serrate margins. The stems of burning bush have distinct, corky ridges. Its flowers are small and yellowish green, and produce reddish-orange fruits in the fall.


Burning bush is a frequent invader of forests, pastures and roadsides. It tolerates both full sun and full shade, and is adaptable to a wide variety of soil types including those with high salinity levels.


This species often escapes cultivation and displaces native species. Its resistance to deer browse may encourage increased browsing on native plants. Burning bush has a very shallow, fibrous root system that increase rates of erosion.


Small shrubs and infestations can be removed manually. Larger shrubs and infestations can be treated with herbicide using cut-stump, foliar or basal bark applications.

Regional Distribution

Early Detection

WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 2 – Eradication

NYS Invasive Species Tiers Chart  – Tier Definitions

* This species may be underreported in WNY PRISM. If you see burning bush outside of a tended landscape setting, please report to iMapInvasives.*


Burning bush was introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant. It spreads by seed and by vegetative means.

Burning bush is a regulated species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit

Native Alternatives

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
American Cranberry Bush (Viburnum trilobum)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)

Additional Resources

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

This map shows confirmed observations (green points) submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database. Absence of data does not necessarily mean absence of the species at that site, but that it has not been reported there. For more information, please visit iMapInvasives.