"Hearts abustin'" has been used as the common name for several Euonymus and other shrubs with these glorious, seemingly exploding fruits.It seems especially appropriate (and very seasonable in its red and green!) for the Oriental spindle tree (Euonymus bungeana), a remarkable and very special tree abundant on Denver's parkways and almost nowhere else. I admire a dozen or more of these on the sixth avenue parkway between Colorado Boulevard and Holly on my daily commute, and there are lots more on 17th Avenue and elsewhere around the city. Right now they are loaded with these flashy fruits, and make a wonderful Christmas-y picture.
This unusual species was planted almost 100 years ago when Mayor Speer and his chief landscape architect assistant, Saco DeBoer, were planting all the wonderful boulevard corridors that make Denver such a wonderful place to live. Over the last century, these have formed gnarly, bonsai-like forms that would look perfect in our Japanese garden at Denver Botanic Gardens (Sarada! Ebi!...we better get some of these planted so they will do this for us in 100 years!). Driving by these - day in, day out - is one of the reasons I love living in Denver so much: our streets are graced with so many beautiful and unusual trees. I wonder how many other people driving by get as much pleasure in their gaunt, giant and graceful presence? Avatar is perhaps not such a stretch: our cities are filled with sacred, life-giving, shimmering trees. Are we the forest creatures who cherish them, or the ones driving the bulldozer--that is the question!