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Purple Winter Creeper

Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz.
Synonym(s): climbing euonymus and winter creeper

Princess Tree Princess Tree
Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service



Commodities Affected:
Forestry and Natural Areas



Traits that make purple winter creeper a desirable ornamental plant, such as its rapid growth, evergreen nature and tolerance of harsh conditions, also make euonymus a threat to natural areas. Purple winter creeper can out compete native vegetation by depleting soil moisture and nutrients, blocking sunlight, and by forming a dense vegetative mat that impedes the growth of seedlings of native species. Vines on trees continue climbing and can eventually overtop them, covering the leaves and preventing photosynthesis.  Note: Plant with caution – only next to concrete or lawns, do not allow to climb.



In 100 Years of Change in the Distribution of Common Indiana Weeds by William and Edith Overlease (2002) reported that purple winter creeper  was not recorded in Indiana in 1899 (Coulter’s Catalogue of Indiana Plants) in or in 1940 (Deam’s Flora).  In 2002, Overlease observed purple winter creeper in all 92 counties in Indiana.