Japanese Spindle Tree

Also known as:
Winged Euonymus, Japanese Laurel

General description

Evergreen shrub or small tree < 7 m tall. Twigs are four-ribbed and wrinkled when dry. Leaves are oval, finely serrated, glossy and opposite. Flowers are small, green and borne in clusters. Seed capsules are round, pink and fleshy.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Japanese spindle tree. As Japanese spindle tree is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant Japanese spindle tree within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any Japanese spindle tree on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Disturbed forest and shrubland, coastal shrub, bare land, forest margins, cliffs.

Seeds dispersed by birds, water, soil movement and possibly possums.

Forms dense stands and is assumed to exclude native plants and prevent seedling recruitment.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel
Large stems can be frilled and pasted with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

rhamnus (evergreen buckthorn)
Rhamnus alaternus

The stems of evergreen buckthorn are purplish red and hairy as opposed to the green and hairless stems of Japanese spindle tree.

Search tags

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Japanese spindle tree - Main species image