General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7b
Plant Height: 12 to 20 feet (3.5-6m)
Plant Spread: 15 to 25 feet (4.6-7.6m)
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Pollinators: Various insects

Image
Common names
  • Eastern Wahoo
  • Burning Bush
  • Indian Arrow Wood
  • Spindle Tree

Photo Gallery
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2014-10-26
the fruit in October
Photo by molanic
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2023-10-24
red fall foliage on a young shrub-tree
Location: Millersville MD
Date: 2019-05-30
Loaded with flowers this year, May 29, 2019
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-10-21
close-up of fruits
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2022-10-02
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2022-10-02
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-12-13
shrub in fruit
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-12-13
fruits on branch
Photo by robertduval14
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-12-13
shrub in fruit
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2012-10-21
red fall color on top leaves
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2011-12-18
the fruit in December
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2014-06-22
the flowers
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2014-06-22
the specimen in summer
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-06-09
little brown-red flowers and leaves
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-06-09
three shrubs together
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-06-09
foliage above
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-06-09
trunks of biggest tree-shrub
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-06-09
trunks of biggest tree-shrub

photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher

photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher

photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2012-06-10
the shrub-tree in summer
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2012-06-10
the plant base
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2012-06-10
the summer foliage
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2012-10-21
the specimen with fall color on top
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PA
Date: 2011-12-18
the specimen in winter
Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 2, 2017 5:47 PM concerning plant:
    Unfortunately, I've only seen six specimens of this species so far. Jenkins Arboretum in southeast PA has a nice, big one mostly in full sun with two younger ones next to it. Morton Arboretum in northeast IL has two young tree-shrubs in the Midwest Collection and one in the Appalachian Collection that is also still young as of October 2023. This is one of those woody plants that can be a small tree or large shrub. It is usually about 10 to 18 feet high, but can get to 35 feet in some happy site. It has pretty foliage that gets a pink or red fall color and the three to four chambered fleshy capsules are awesome. (The European Spindletree Euonymus is similar, but I would rather stay with a native plant that would be more beneficial to native wildlife and not possibly go crazy being invasive.) The Wahoo's native range is from western New York down to northern Virginia to northern Alabama to central Oklahoma up to central Minnesota. It covers all MO, IL, IN, OH, & KY. It grows about 1.5 feet/year and lives over 100 years to about 150 years. It grows in average to moist soils with a pH of around 6.5 to 7.5. Some large, diverse, conventional nurseries and native plant or specialty nurseries grow some. Like other Euonymus, it can be picked on by the white-shelled Euonymus Scale insects.
  • Posted by sallyg (central Maryland - Zone 7b) on Mar 30, 2020 8:22 PM concerning plant:
    My specimen is about ten years old, in a shrubby, mostly upright shape. It makes a lot of stray roots in my sandy-loam soil, with suckers coming up every few feet; that makes it easy to share. In fact, I got mine in a box from another gardener in Tennessee. The Illinois wildflower site lists a number of insects that use the flowers or foliage, but says birds are not that fond of the fruit. Fall leaf color is nice.

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