Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wahoo for the Wahoo

Burning bush is widely planted for fall color while its native cousin the eastern wahoo or Euonymus atropurpurea is not widely known, planted or even available. It deserves attention, however, as eastern wahoo offers far more than just one season of beauty.
        Granted, its fall color is a less dramatic pink to scarlet but it bears purplish-brown 4-petaled flowers in June and July, green bittersweet-like capsules that blush pink starting in September and persist bright red into winter. Even in late winter, its gray, corky stems and horizontal branching pattern draw attention in the more subtle winter landscape.
        Unlike its high-maintenance cousin, it’s a native that is used to surviving hot, dry weather without supplemental care or water. It’s larger than burning bush, growing 10-12 feet high, and is most often grouped in naturalized plantings. But it has merit as a specimen planting as well, becoming flat-topped with age.
Written by Sue Kohles and Karma Larsen

Eastern wahoo in summer, mid-fall and winter (top & right).


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