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TREES & plants


Wahoo is a Chicago region native offering beautiful fruit in fall.  It may be difficult to find this species in local nurseries.

Botanical name: 
Euonymus atropurpureus
All Common Names: 
Wahoo, Eastern Wahoo, Eastern burning bush
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Massing
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Late spring
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Purple
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Round
  • Thicket-forming
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size and Form

12 to 20 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide; upright, irregular form; can form colonies.

Tree & Plant Care

Removal of suckers may be needed to control size.

Disease, pests and problems

Euonymus scale

Disease, pests and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 8
Common along streams.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is gray and relatively smooth, developing splits as it ages.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, opposite leaves, oval with a very finely toothed edge; dark green; 2 to 5 inches long.
Fall color is pink to red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, maroon flowers with 4 petals; on long stalks in loose clusters in later spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

This plant yields an attractive, 4-lobed reddish-pink fruit capsule with scarlet aril.