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Euonymus fortunei   (Turcz. ) Hand.-Mazz.
Riley County, Kansas
Height: Vines, to 65 feet long
Family: Celastraceae Staff Tree Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July
Also Called: Chinese spindle-tree.
Trunks: Stems prostrate or climbing by adventitious roots; bark reddish brown to gray, smooth or slightly flaky; wood white or yellowish white, hard.
Twigs: Green to greenish brown, flexible, terete to more or less 2-3-angled, not corky winged, glabrous, glaucous; leaf scars crescent-shaped to half-round; buds pink to greenish purple, elongate-ovoid, .2 to .4 inch, apex acute, scales glabrous, more or less glaucous.
Leaves: Persistent, opposite, simple; stipules caducous, lanceolate, to .04 inch; petiole .2 to .4 inch; blade lanceolate to ovate, elliptic, or obovate-elliptic, .8 to 3.6 inches long, .2 to 2 inches wide, base cuneate to obtuse or rounded, margins crenate-serrate, apex obtuse to acute or acuminate, lower surface light green, glabrous, upper surface dark green, glabrous.
Flowers: Inflorescences axillary on new growth, cymes, 5-25-flowered; peduncles .6 to 2 inches, glabrous, thicker distally; pedicels .2 to .4 inch, glabrous. Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric; sepals 4, distinct, green, ovate, .04 to .06 inch; petals 4, distinct, white to greenish yellow, oblong to broadly obovate, .12 to .16 inch long, .08 to .12 inch wide; disk 4-lobed, green; stamens 4, to .12 inch; pistil 1, ovary superior, 4-locular, embedded in disk; style .06 to .08 inch; stigma slender, not distinctly lobed.
Fruit: August-November; capsules, tan to pinkish green or orange, obovoid to nearly globose, shallowly 2-4-lobed, .2 to .3 inch long, .2 to .3 inch wide, smooth; seeds 2 per locule, yellowish brown, ellipsoid, .16 to .28 inch long, .14 to .2 inch wide, more or less rugose; aril orange, completely surrounding seed.
Habitat: Floodplain forests, stream banks, mesic upland forests, disturbed sites.
Distribution: Scattered in east 1/2 of Kansas
Origin: Naturalized
Comments: Euonymus fortunei is native to Asia and was introduced as an ornamental. Many cultivars have been developed. Wintercreeper was first reported in Kansas in 1995; it is probably much more common in Kansas than the specimen records suggest. Flowers and fruits are produced only on climbing stems. Vegetative stems can form dense mats on forest floors, sometimes crowding out other species.

Wintercreeper inflorescence
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper flowers
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper bark
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper leaves
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper buds
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Wildcat Glades, Newton County, Missouri
Wintercreeper fruit
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper fruit
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Riley County, Kansas
Wintercreeper fruit
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Riley County, Kansas