Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plant of the Week: Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus)

This is one of those native plants that kind of hides until it is time for it to strut its brilliance, which is now when the clusters of seed pods open and display the bright orange to red seeds in the four lobed seed capsules that are rough looking.  This feature has given this plant the common name of "Hearts-a-Bustin" .  This green stemmed plant is pretty common throughout the woodlands of Kentucky but you hardly ever see it get very big in the wild because it is a favorite deer food and in many places they have almost eliminated it.  However, in the garden, this 4 to 6' tall plant, makes a wonderful edition to the woodland or woodland edge garden.  It can form a thicket because it suckers and the light green leaves and 5 petaled flowers are not that showy, but this is unusual for a Euonymus because they usually have 4 petaled flowers.  Fall is definitely the season for this plant as the leaves can turn a scarlet red draped against the green stem complete with those wonderful seed capsules. When considering where to plant look for loamy soils that are slightly acidic as the eastern Wahoo (a native tree) likes the more heavy limestone soils (and is also an excellent native species as well).  All parts of this plant are poisonous and contain glycosides that cause severe diarrhea and potentially heart failure and cardiac arrest.  This is a much better native alternative to the invasive exotic burning bush and winter creeper so heavily planted in this state.

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