NC State Extension Publications

Key to Euonymus

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Plants in the genus Euonymus are fairly common in Southern landscapes, although only about 220,000 are produced by nurserymen each year. Because of its varied leaf size, color, and form and its varied growth pattern, euonymus can be used in many situations.

Several scales, the Japanese weevil, and spider mites have been reported on euonymus in the Southeast. The most important pest of euonymus is the euonymus scale.

  1. Euonymus scale – Chlorotic spots appear on the leaves; tiny, brown and white scales mark leaves and stems.

Euonymus Scale

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Euonymus scale, Unaspis enonymi (Comstock), Diaspididae, HEMIPTERA


Adult Elongate (.75 mm) and white, the mature male is a tiny, two-winged insect. The female is 1.5 mm long, dark, and shaped like an oyster shell (Figure U).

Egg The tiny egg is yellow and oval.

Crawler The crawler is also tiny and yellow.


Distribution Euonymus scale is the most commonly reported pest of Euonymus, Pachysandra, and Celastrus throughout the Southeast. Although this scale is small, infestations are often dense and plainly visible.

Host Plants – Euonymus, Pachysandra, Celastrus, ivy growing near Euonymus Camellia, twinberry, eugenia, and hollies are the known hosts of the euonymus scale.

Damage – The first visible damage is yellow spotting on the leaves. The stems may become so encrusted with the scales that whole branches or the entire plant dies.

Life History – This scale usually has two or three generations per year. The males emerge as tiny, twowinged flies and mate with the females, which shrivel as they lay eggs under their protective shells. The tiny crawlers hatch and emerge from the mother's shell in April, May, and June; female adult euonymus scales do not leave the protective covering. The crawlers move along the leaves and stems before inserting their sucking mouthparts to feed. They then secrete their protective covering. Another brood hatches in late summer, and a partial third brood may appear even later. As a result, all stages of development are present most of the year. Males are usually more numerous than females, in dense infestations, clusters of the snow-white males on the leaves and twigs are clearly noticeable.


Euonymus scale is difficult to control, but the removal of heavily infested branches will help. For specific chemical controls, see the current state extension recommendations.

Euonymus scale. A. Female. B. Males. C. Eggs. D. Damage to euony

Euonymus scale. A. Female. B. Males. C. Eggs. D. Damage to euonymus leaf.

Figure U. Euonymus scale insects.

Figure U. Euonymus scale insects.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Retired Extension Specialist (Identification & Diagnosis)
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Publication date: Jan. 1, 1993

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