Monday, November 16, 2015


Wahoo seed capsules - Jennifer Ailor
From Jennifer Ailor

One of the most delightful native ornamental trees is the eastern wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus, of the Celastraceae family. By type, it's actually a shrub. Its dark purple blossoms open in June, and in October/November they appear as delicate rosy red fruits dangling beneath the leaves or bare branches. Quite a show until the birds get them.

Wahoo fruit -
Mine is shrub size growing under oaks and a walnut, but according to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, they also grow in full sun and can be found in open woods and thickets, near streams and on wooded slopes. They typically reach 10 feet. You can read more about the wahoo at

My wahoo, in mid-November, is still looking quite lovely. You can purchase your own from Missouri Wildflower Nursery, from online nurseries and from selected local nurseries listed at You won't find them at a Lowe's or Home Depot garden center.

Editor's notes:
They are also available at the source of the above photo.

The fruit is in a pink four-lobed capsule that opens up to display the bright red seeds.  This has been called Hearts Bursting with Love.  This name is ironic as the fruit is actually poisonous to humans.  Fortunately, many birds eat it without harm, then flying off to transplant the seed.

The common name is also fun, emitted as a loud "Waa-hoo!" 

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