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Euonymus atropurpureus Jacq.
Burningbush, Eastern wahoo, Burning bush, Wahoo, Waahoo, Whahoo, Spindle tree
Synonym(s): Euonymus atropurpurea
USDA Symbol: EUAT5
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Shrub or rarely a small tree with spreading, irregular crown and red or purple capsules suggesting a burning bush. Eastern wahoo is a large, clumping, deciduous shrub which can develop into a small tree, 20-25 ft. tall. Twigs are lime-green and bordered by corky lines. Leaves are the same lime-green, turning red in fall. Small purple flowers are succeeded by showy fruits. The crimson pods split in mid-autumn to reveal scarlet-coated seeds which hang on far into winter.
The powdered bark was used by American Indians and pioneers as a purgative. Wahoo was a Dakota term for the plant, literally meaning arrow-wood. The Latin species name, meaning dark purple, refers to the color of the fruit.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
, WV Native Distribution:
Ont. to s. MI, MN
s. to FL
& e. TX Native Habitat:
Floodplains; stream banks; moist woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) Soil Description:
Fertile, moist soils. Conditions Comments:
Though quite shade-tolerant, this shrub
does well in full sun. It is somewhat naturalized in the New York. Plants are susceptible to Euonymus scale and crown gall, and need protection from deer and rabbits. Root suckers may be pulled off if a single-stemmed tree
PropagationDescription: Semi-hardwood cuttings taken in fall root readily with no hormone treatment. Increase also by separating suckers. A less reliable method of propagation is by seed. Its dense, shallow roots make it easy to transplant when dormant.
Seed Collection: Pick seeds by hand just before fleshy capsules begin to split. Air-dry on screens. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Seed must be stratified. Some texts say a single stratification at 32-50 degrees for 90-120 days is appropriate. Others say double stratification is necessary … 90 days warm and 60 days cool.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2014-02-25
Research By: TWC Staff