Dear lucky one,

this is your tree!

Your tree was planted on the 2nd January 2019

Your tree was planted on the 2nd January 2019

Information about your tree:

Species: Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaeus L.),
Location: Ferme du Plessis, 28190 Pontgouin, France,
Purpose: Afforestation for an eco-village,
Date of plantation: January 2019,
Status: Planted and in good health.

Description of your tree:

The spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus L.) is a much-branched, non-spiny, deciduous small tree, growing 2-6 m tall, rarely reaching up to 8 m. The bark is grey in colour and smooth. The young twigs are green, 4-angled, without brown protuberances. New shoots grow vigorously, also 4-angled and winged. The buds are 2-4 mm long, ovoid, sharply pointed. The leaves are simple, opposite, lanceolate or ovate-elliptical, 3-10 cm long and 2-3.5 cm wide, narrowing at tip and base. The leaf margins are crenate and finely saw-toothed and the leaves have a rough surface and are bluish-green beneath. The petioles are 0.5-1 cm long 1-5 . This species is gynodioecious, having female flowers on some individual plants and hermaphrodite flowers on others. The flowers are small, delicate and about 1 cm in diameter. They are arranged in inflorescences of 3-10 flowers in leaf axils, on 1-3.5 cm long pedicels, having 4 elements of each of the floral whorls (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels). They blossom in April-July. The fruits are capsules, 1-1.5 cm wide, with 4 angled lobes, green then dark pink or red when mature. Ripe fruits open through 4 valves, containing 4 whitish seeds covered by a fleshy red-orangelayer (pseudo-aril). Fruits ripen in September-October.

It inhabits mainly forest margins, clearings and open woodlands, preferring medium moisture levels, and well-drained, preferably alkaline soils in full to partial shade. It is frequently found as an understorey shrub, principally in mixed mesophilous forests dominated by deciduous oaks (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), forming oak-hornbeam forest communities, along with ash (Fraxinus excelsior), field maple (Acer campestre), etc. The pseudo-aril is eaten by a range of animals and its seeds are widely dispersed mainly by birds (robins, blackbirds, blackcap, and song thrush) and rodents, but the seeds are poisonous.

The wood of the spindle is homogenous, white or yellowish, and easy to work. It is used, more in the past, for plywood and toothpicks, knitting needles, combs, and for making spindles, from which the common name derives; the wood is also heat resistant and it was used in making tobacco-pipes. Charcoal from its wood is used for drawing, and to make charcoal powder. The red pseudo-aril was also used in the past to make dyes. The bark, the leaves and the seeds were used as a purgative, but they are toxic, with similar cardio-stimulant effects to foxglove (Digitalis spp.). Dried, powdered fruits and seeds mixed in butter were used to deter lice. Antifungal chitin-binding proteins have been isolated from bark and leaves. The whole plant contains compounds of medicinal and veterinary value.


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