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TREES & Plants

Wahoo

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): 
Staff-tree
Family (Botanic): 
Celastraceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Occasional flooding
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Purple
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Round
  • Thicket-forming
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Screen
Time of Year: 
  • Late spring
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
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

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 8
Common along streams.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Several species of birds eat the seeds.

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.