winter creeper USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: EUFO5
Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Maz.
Synonym(s): climbing euonymus

Winter creeper is an evergreen, woody vine that invades forests throughout the eastern United States. The plant can be a small shrub, growing in mats along the forest floor to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in height, or a vine climbing trees to heights of 40-70 ft. (12.2-21.3 m). The opposite leaves are dark green, oval, slightly toothed, glossy, thick, < 1 in. (2.5 cm) long and often with silvery-white venation. The young stems are green, becoming light gray and corky with age. Flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, five petaled and develop in mid-summer. Plants usually only flower when climbing and almost never when trailing along the ground. Fruit are pinkish-red capsules that open to show orange seeds. Winter creeper aggressively invades open forests, forest margins, and openings. The dense ground cover often resulting from an infestation can displace native understory species and restrict tree seedling establishment. Winter creeper can also smother and kill shrubs and small trees. Winter creeper is native to Asia and was first introduced into the United States in 1907 as an ornamental ground cover plant.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources