Pfaffenhütchen - care, cutting and multiplying

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Pfaffenhütchen - Euonymus europaeus

The Pfaffenhütchen stands in parks and gardens throughout Europe. In nature, as wild wood, it grows on the forest roads and roadsides. The name Spindelstrauch comes from the fact that its fine wood is suitable for turning. Attention: all plant parts are extremely poisonous!


  • The shrub copes with the different soil conditions. On calcareous, drought-prone soils it blooms more abundantly and produces more fruits. Moist surface makes it grow faster.
  • The location should be sunny to partially shaded and is suitable as a container plant for balcony or terrace. The plant likes a lot of fresh air but no drafts.
  • The flat root system is broadly branched. The main root gets thicker and is surrounded by a dense Seitentriebfilz.
  • The Pfaffenhütchen is often found in nature, usually as a single shrub. In light deciduous forests is part of the shrub layer. It is located on southern slopes in the company of blackthorn, privet, honeysuckle, barberry and dogwood.

Characteristic growth

The Pfaffenhütchen is a strongly branched shrub that can grow up to three meters high. Rarely as a small tree up to seven meters. The many side shoots are relatively thin and are almost at right angles. Older bushes have a cracked bark that is greyish brown. The shrub loses its leaves in winter, but its branches remain green.
The leaves are three to eight inches long. They have the shape of an egg or ellipse and taper up. The leaf margin is finely sawn. The leaf top is darker. In autumn (September to October) the leaves turn orange to bright red. The rather inconspicuous, but numerous flowers appear from May to June. These are yellowish-green, standing in pairs up to ninth on pedunculate umbels. When the flowering time is over, the very noticeable fruits appear from August to October.
The shrub looks very nice despite the inconspicuous flowers and is an eye-catcher. He is therefore often planted as an ornamental shrub.


The Pfaffenhütchen needs a lot of water in the warm season. From August, the water can be limited. The bale should not dry out. Once the top layer of soil has dried off, water can be re-added. In the growth phase from May to August, a fertilizer may be given every 14 days. As a container plant, the shrub is wintered brightly at 4 to 6 degrees. Every year in March, the young plants are transplanted into standard unit earth. At this time, the Pfaffenhütchen can be cut vigorously.

Seeds and the fruits

The fleshy capsule fruits are orange to red and up to two centimeters in size. In the fruits are 1 to 4 white seeds, which contain green embryos in their interior. They are surrounded by orange pulp. When the fruits are ripe, they will spring open and the seeds will stick out on threads. The seeds are carried off by birds and germinate only after a longer rest period. In four to five years they experience several frost periods.

Pfaffenhütchen - Euonymus europaeus

As ornamental shrubs in the garden mature shoots are cut in spring or autumn and rooted in a pot with seedling soil. In nature, the fruits are on the diet of many birds. The seeds are especially eaten by robins and the fruits of magpies and thrushes. The birds digest the fleshy seed coat and spit it out again in bales. In this way, the seeds are spread. After a long rest of several years, the seeds germinate. An own seed production is very laborious.

Pests and diseases

Not infrequently, the Pfaffenhütchen is infested by the caterpillars of Spindelbaumgespinstmotten. In spring, the plant is therefore often covered with a web. The moths eat almost all leaves from the shrub. Once it has been eroded, the caterpillars and thorny threads are roped off again. But that is no cause for concern, in the spring, the plant again drives out again.
  • The black bean louse in the first generation sucks on the leaves.
  • Wild rabbits and hares like to eat on the branches and bark in winter.

Worth knowing soon

All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals. The deadly dose is a small number of seeds. After about 15 hours, the first signs of poisoning appear. It should then prompt vomiting and drink plenty of water, tea or fruit juice. In the folk medicine the Pfaffenhütchen was formerly used as a diuretic because of its ingredients. The recovered powder from the seed was used against pests such as lice and cat mites.

Today, the plant is no longer used in medicine! But there are other uses:

  • Oil from the seed: fuel, soap production
  • in the garden and nature: shrubbery, bee pasture, bird protection and food, securing embankment, protective planting, street greenery
  • Fruits: insecticide, bird food

The yellow wood of the Pfaffenhütchens is considered very tough. In the past, for example, it became pipes for the organ. Shoe nails, spindles and knitting needles made. In addition, high quality charcoal or charcoal was produced from the wood.

  • The Pfaffenhütchen is a popular name for the common spindle shrub, which belongs to the family of spindle tree plants.
  • The most important thing to say about this plant is that it is extremely poisonous, on and in all plant parts. That's why the Pfaffenhütchen was also voted poison plant of the year in 2006.
  • The Pfaffenhütchen should receive despite its toxicity a place in the garden. It is a very beautiful ornamental shrub and attracts attention especially in the autumn by its color splendor. It is frost hardy and city climate.
  • One of the most important characteristics of the spindle shrub is its size, it grows as a shrub a considerable three feet high, as a tree he can grow up to six feet high.
  • It is a so-called winter-bald shrub. Its leaves are opposite, elliptic, with notches along the margin.

Pfaffenhütchen - Euonymus europaeus

The flowers of the shrub bloom from May to June, but are rather inconspicuous and small. The yellow-green flowers grow in umbels. The fruits, however, are already noticeable. Once the flowering time is over, impressive red to orange capsule fruits appear, which can be up to two inches tall. In the capsules are the seeds, four each in number, harboring green embryos inside and hanging out of the open capsule.

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