The priest’s hat

spindle bush

Last week I was weeding on the far side of the garden and noticed these beautiful pink fruit hanging from one of the shrubs. We had got the shrub a couple of years ago when there was a “tree day” in San Giorgio. This was when the Commune got native trees and shrubs from the Forestry Commission and offered them to local people. The aim was to encourage planting of native species.

I hadn’t noticed the fruit before and so its perhaps its the first year it has fruited. After some searching I discovered that the plant is “Euonymus Europaeus” or “common spindle”. In Italian it is called “Il cappello del prete” and in German “Pfaffenhutchen” as the shape of the fruit resembles a “priest’s hat” . Not surprisingly, given the colour, the fruit is poisonous can eating the fruit can cause liver and kidney damage and even death. 

The wood of the spindle bush is very hard and can be shaped into a very sharp point and so in the past it was used to make the “spindle” for spinning wool.

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