I mentioned Hearts-a-Bustin’ in my 29 August post A Walk in the Woods. Today I took another walk in our woods and found that the Hearts-a-Bustin’ are indeed in various stages of blooming, opening up, and dropping seeds.


DSCN1943This native plant, also known as American Strawberry Bush (Euonymous americana), is a member of the Bittersweet family (Celastraceae) and is found throughout the eastern US. It is cold hardy to -15 degrees F (-26.1 C). The plants in our woods grow in almost full shade in what is the flood plain alongside a small creek. They have spread throughout the woods.


DSCN1947I have never noticed its spring blooming flowers which by default must be described as inconspicuous. All parts of the plant, including the red seeds, are reported to be poisonous if ingested.

DSCN1946Hearts-a-Bustin’ has a reputation as a favorite of our neighborhood deer herd, although I am pleased to say I have yet to see evidence of deer chewing on those plants. That is not to say that deer have not made themselves totally unwelcome in other parts of the garden. It is reported that Hearts-a-Bustin’ can be propagated from seed; they have undoubtedly spread that way in our woods. If sown indoors, it again is reported by the experts that they need three months of cold treatment.

This is an up close look at the seeds and the various stages that the plants go through to produce them:


Hearts-a-Bustin’ (Euonymous americana)

I am growing increasingly interested in the small details found in the plants around us. This is a learning process that I trust will continue as long as I can walk in the woods and stop to look closely at what is growing there.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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4 Responses to Hearts-a-Bustin’

  1. Chloris says:

    I have never heard them called this before, what a good name for them. I had quite a few different Euonymus in a previous garden and I am growing on quite a few of their seeds. I am quite keen to see whether they will come true or whether I will have some interesting new hybrids.


  2. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Chloris. Good luck with your seeds.


  3. Annette says:

    This name is new to me but I love Euonymus, especially alatus and planiscapus. They have so much to offer and I’m thrilled to see mine starting to turn orange and red.


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