Winged burning bush is a deciduous shrub, up to 20 feet in height, which invades forests throughout the eastern United States. Winged burning bush can invade a variety of disturbed habitats including forest edges, old fields, and roadsides. The seeds are readily dispersed by birds, allowing for many long dispersal events. Once established, it can form dense thickets that displace native vegetation. Winged burning bush is native to northeastern Asia and was first introduced into America in the 1860s for ornamental purposes. It currently continues to be sold and planted as an ornamental or roadside hedge. Note: Plant with caution – do not plant the straight species or cultivars which produce large amounts of fruits. ‘Rudy Haag’ and ‘Compactus’ may be less invasive cultivars.
In 100 Years of Change in the Distribution of Common Indiana Weeds by William and Edith Overlease (2002) reported that winged burning bush was not recorded in Indiana in 1899 (Coulter’s Catalogue of Indiana Plants) or in 1940 (Deam’s Flora). In 2002 Overlease recorded winged burning bush in the following 45 counties in Indiana: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Daviess, Dearborn, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, La Porte, Lawrence, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Porter, Putnam, Scott, Spencer, Starke, Sullivan, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Vigo, and Washington. Overlease noted that winged euonymus was a “frequent escape by occasionally locally common.”