1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Euonymus

EUONYMUS, in botany, a genus of deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees, widely distributed in the north temperate zone, and represented in Britain by E. europaeus, the spindle tree, so called from its hard tough wood being formerly used for spindles. It is a shrub or small tree growing in copses or hedges, with a grey smooth bark, four-angled green twigs, opposite leaves and loose clusters of small greenish-white flowers. The ripe fruit is a pale crimson colour and splits into four lobes exposing the bright orange-coloured seed. E. japonicus is a hardy evergreen shrub, often variegated and well known in gardens. The Greek name εὐώνυμος, of good name, lucky, is probably a euphemism; the flowering was said to foretell plague.