Plant ID forum: plant with spherical flower

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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
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Muddy1
Jul 9, 2017 9:01 PM CST
This plant (I think it's a shrub) is growing in a residential wooded area in Virginia. It was intertwined with ivy growing against a tree, so I couldn't get a photo of the entire plant. The second photo shows most of the plant as viewed from above, though.

The flower bud looks very similar to Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button Bush), but it's definitely not that shrub.

Any ideas?
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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ViburnumValley
Jul 9, 2017 10:15 PM CST
The spherical feature you've captured is no longer the flower, but the maturing fruiting structure.

The opposite arrangement of simple leaves on very green stems/branches is the additional giveaway identification feature. This is a native shrubby Euonymus - Euonymus americanus - better known as Strawberrybush.

Watch these structures mature to pinkish red warty capsules, and then split open to reveal the orange fleshy fruit inside that will protrude and hang down before consumption by birds.

The very similar Euonymus atropurpureus - with the more fun common name of Eastern Wahoo - will have smooth pinkish/red capsules on a larger plant with less greenish but more grayish stems/branches. Eastern Wahoo grows on more calcareous soils (like Viburnum Valley Farm) whereas Strawberrybush prefers the likes of more acidic soils.

Excellent smaller native shrubby plant that supports native species, and confounds the Identification Intelligentsia...
John
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
Image
Muddy1
Jul 10, 2017 8:08 AM CST
Thanks, John! I'm very happy to have an ID, and even happier to hear what it is. It's not growing on my property, but I will tell its "owners" to liberate it from the English Ivy growing around it and pamper it properly.

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