Spindle

©Philip Precey

Spindle

Scientific name: Euonymus europaeus
A small woodland and hedgerow tree, Spindle is most striking in the autumn when clusters of bright pink-and-orange berries hang from its twigs, providing food for mice, birds and even Red Foxes.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 6-9m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Spindle is most striking in the autumn when its narrow, oval leaves turn reddish-orange and clusters of bright pink-and-orange berries hang from its twigs. These berries provide food for all kinds of creatures, including mice, birds and even Red Foxes, but are poisonous to us. Spindle is a small tree, widespread in woodland edges and hedgerows on limestone soils, and is also frequently planted in parks and gardens.

How to identify

Spindle has slightly square stems and thin, straight twigs; smooth, green bark; narrow, shiny leaves that turn orange-red in autumn; and characteristic pink fruits that contain bright orange seeds.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The very straight, hard wood of Spindle was traditionally used for making 'spindles' for spinning wool.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.