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Art Show: Flower of the Month: Fall Foliage

European Spindle: Polish Pottery XXI

by Heather Sims

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Art: European Spindle: Polish Pottery XXI by Artist Heather Sims
The 21st in my Polish Pottery series. I cut these branches from my backyard b/c I loved the pinks and oranges coming from the branches. I didn't know what the tree was called till I asked all my Art friends and Olga found what this tree was called. Thanks Olga!! The tree is the European Spindle tree with the beautiful and poisonous fruit that pop out in the autumn. I put these branches in one of my very favorite unikat Polish Pottery pattern by Zacklady.. I bought this vase in Poland on one of my trips there and its my favorite pattern. The pattern has been nick named Fall moon but the pattern number is Unikat Art 117. A beautiful pattern!! About the European Spindle: The European Spindle (Euonymus europaeus), also known as the common spindle, is a deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Celastraceae, native to much of Europe, particularly in the centre, but is to be found in locations from Ireland and southern Scandinavia in the north, to northern Spain and Sicily in the south, and as far east as Lithuania. It is also to be found in Asia Minor and up to the Caucasus. It grows to 3-6 m tall, rarely up to 10 m, with a stem up to 20 cm diameter. The leaves are opposite, and are lanceolate to elliptical, 3-8 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, with a finely serrated edge. In autumn they often show a beautiful bright red colour. The hermaphrodite flowers are produced in late spring and are insect-pollinated; they are rather inconspicuous, small, yellowish green and grow in cymes of 3-8 together. The capsular fruit ripens in autumn, and is red to purple or pink in colour and approximately 1-1.5 cm wide. When ripe, the four lobes split open to reveal the orange seeds. The fruit is poisonous, containing amongst other substances, the alkaloids theobromine and caffeine, as well as an extremely bitter terpene. Poisonings are more common in young children, who are enticed by the brightly-coloured fruits. Ingestion can result in liver and kidney damage and even death. The European spindle prefers the edges of forest, hedges and gentle slopes, tending to thrive on nutrient-rich, chalky and salt-poor soils. Other names include Fusoria, Fusanum, Ananbeam.

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