Wahoo is a native small tree or large shrub found as an understory plant in rich woods and along stream banks. It is colony-forming plant with small purple, hanging flowers in spring and beautiful fall color and 4-capsuled fruit in fall. It may be difficult to find in nurseries.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
All common names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional flooding,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Late spring,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
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
Disease, pests and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
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
Strawberry-bush Euonymus (Euonymus americanus): Also known as American euonymus is a open, suckering shrub reaching 4 to 6 foot high often found in low, moist wooded landscapes and swampy areas. All parts of the shrub are green. The fruit resembles a strawberry. May be difficult to find in nurseries.