A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Eastern Wahoo, Burningbush
Full to part sun; moderately wet to medium moisture level; prefers a rich loamy soil but tolerates a range of soils including sandy loams and silt loams but not clay soil; circumneutral pH.
12-20 feet height by 15-25 feet spread; dark purple flowers in May to June; bright scarlet fruit inside a 3 or 4-lobed, reddish capsule which opens in September to October.
Growth Rate: Medium. Suckers.
Maintenance: Frequent disease problems and infrequent insect problems. Can have severe powdery mildew in wet seasons. Susceptible to euonymus scale and crown gall. Root suckers can be cut off if a single-stemmed tree is desirable.
Propagation: Seed germination code C (90-150) at 32 to 50 degrees F. Difficult from seed. Easy by rooted semi-hardwood cuttings. Can also propagate by separating suckers.
Native Region: Middle and East Tennessee and Mississippi River Valley
Large shrub or small understory tree with a wide, flat-topped irregular crown. Most often grown for its attractive berries and fall color. Crimson-colored pods split open in mid-fall to reveal scarlet seeds which hang on well into winter. Fall leaf color is an attractive pinkish red. Often has multiple trunks. Occurs naturally in floodplains, on streambanks and in moist woods. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans if ingested.
Attracts bees and is a larval food for some moths. Birds eat the fruit but it is not favored.