Eastern Wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus

Eastern Wahoo

Euonymus atropurpureus

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium
Color: Purple
Fragrance: No
Height: 12-20 feet
Spacing: 15-25 feet

Eastern Wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus, also called Burning Bush, is a deciduous shrub or small tree which is most often grown for its attractive red berries and fall color. Occurs in the wild in open woods and thickets, near streams and on wooded slopes. Typically appears as an upright, spreading, deciduous shrub with an irregular crown growing to 10-15 feettall. Dark green elliptic to ovate leaves turn dull red to greenish red in fall. Small, purple flowers appear in the leaf axils in late spring but are not particularly showy. Scarlet red fruits appear in autumn. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about a month. The flowers are replaced by 4-lobed seed capsules that become mature during the fall. At this time, each seed capsule splits open into 4 parts to expose 4 fleshy red arils (fruits) that each contain 2 seeds. The seed capsules are light pink or pale purple with a smooth surface; they later become more dark-colored. The seeds are light brown with a smooth surface. The root system consists of a taproot. This woody plant reproduces by reseeding itself.

Fruit is attractive to wildlife and is often considered to be the best ornamental feature of the shrub. Although the bark, leaves and fruits of eastern wahoo were formerly used for a variety of medicinal purposes, all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.

Habitats include moist to mesic woodlands, shaded to partially shaded riverbanks, woodland borders, wooded slopes, small openings in wooded areas, and thickets. This species is typically found in Maple-Basswood, Maple-Beech, and similar deciduous woodlands.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable shrub which tolerates wide range of soils and full shade. Will not tolerate wet, poorly-drained soil, however.

 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

Bees flying footer graphic