winter creeper

Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Maz.

U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Vine

Synonym(s): climbing euonymus

Euonymus fortunei is an evergreen perennial vine that was introduced as an ornamental groundcover. It is native to China, Japan, and Korea.
Leaves are opposite, glossy, dark green, oval, slightly toothed, with light-colored veins, about 1-2.5 in. (2.5-6.4 cm) long.
Flowers are small and greenish with five petals on long branched stalks.
Fruits are small round pink-red capsules that split open to expose seeds with red-orange arils.
Ecological Threat
Euonymus fortunei is a vigorous vine that invades forest openings and margins. It grows across the ground, displacing herbaceous plants and seedlings and climbs trees high into the tree canopy by clinging to the bark. Forest openings, caused by wind, insects or fire are especially vulnerable to invasion. Euonymus fortunei has been reported to be invasive in natural areas in most of the states in the eastern half of the U.S. It can tolerate a broad range of environmental conditions ranging from full sun to deep shade, and acidic to basic and low nutrient soils, but it does not grow well in heavy wet soils. Look-alikes are the native Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) and the invasive Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and common periwinkle (Vinca minor).

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service