Family Celastraceae – Bittersweets, Spindle Trees

Family Celastraceae – Bittersweets, Spindle Trees

These Himalayan spindle trees, grown from seed, are 75 years old

Celastraceae is a botanical family of 1,300 species of vines, shrubs, and small trees, in about 100 genera.  Celastrus , Euonymus and Maytenus are widespread in temperate climates.

Celastraceae leaves are simple and alternate or opposite; stipules are small and caducous or absent. The flowers are bisexual or sometimes functionally unisexual, actinomorphic, and are small and often greenish. The calyx comprises 4 or 5 usually basally connate sepals. The corolla is rarely absent or more commonly consists of 4 or 5 distinct petals. The androecium consists of 4 or 5 or rarely 10 distinct stamens that alternate with the petals. The gynoecium is a single compound pistil of 2-5 carpels, a single short style, and a superior or rarely half inferior ovary with 2-5 locules, each containing usually 2 axile ovules. An annular nectary disk surrounds and is usually adnate to the ovary. The fruit is a capsule, berry, samara, or drupe. [1]

Spindle Tree - Euonymus nikoensis
Spindle Tree
Euonymus nikoensis

Winterberry Euonymus
Euonymus bungeanus
Himalayan Spindle Tree
Himalayan Spindle Tree
Euonymus hamiltonianus

1. Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Carr, Emeritus Professor of Botany, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, “Celastraceae

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