Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Euonymus atropurpureus Jacq.
- Family: Bittersweet (Celastraceae)
- Flowering: June-July
- Field Marks: This species is characterized by its green twigs and four-lobed, rose-colored
fruits that split open to reveal seeds with a bright red covering.
- Habitat: Moist woods, thickets.
- Habit: Shrub or small tree to about 25 feet tall.
- Stems: Twigs greenish, smooth, with opposite leaf scars.
- Leaves: Opposite, simple, elliptic to narrowly ovate, pointed at the tip, rounded or tapering to the base, finely toothed, smooth on the upper surface, hairy on the lower surface, up to 4 inches long, up to 2 1/2 inches wide; leaf stalks up to 1/6 inch long.
- Flowers: Borne in axillary clusters on stalks longer than the leaf stalks, purplish, up to 1/3 inch across.
- Sepals: 4, green, united at the base.
- Petals: 4, purple, free from each other, up to 3/4 inch long.
- Stamens: 4, attached to a disk that covers the ovary.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; stigma 3- to 5-lobed.
- Fruits: Capsule irregularly 4-lobed, pink or rose, smooth, up to 3/4 inch in diameter; seeds brown, but covered by a bright red, fleshy structure.
- Notes: This plant is also called wahoo. Stems and young leaves are browsed by deer, and seeds are eaten by birds.
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