Native tree ID

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

From KY. Some type of Cornus I think, but need help with full ID. Seeds from today.

Doug

Thumbnail by postmandug
Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Leaves are opposite as are all Dogwoods from here except alternifolia.

Thumbnail by postmandug
Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Bark

Thumbnail by postmandug
Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Full tree.

Thumbnail by postmandug
Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

And finally another shot of seed pods from above. It's a beautiful color. Thanks in advance for any help.

Doug

Thumbnail by postmandug
Walkerton, VA(Zone 7a)

My guess is amember of the genus Euonymus. The species americanus (Strawberry bush) has spiny capsules of a similar color. Those found on sachalinensis and planipes are smooth as seen in your photo. Anyone else care to weigh in?

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Well I checked Plantfiles for that and I don't think it's a match. The seed pods on the euonymus are spiny and these are not, more papery. Plus the leaf veins are different. Thanks for trying though!

Doug

Minneapolis, MN

I think it might be eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpures), which does, indeed, grow in the wild in Kentucky. Check out this link:
http://www.dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=454

Some Euonymus have spiny seed pods but others do not. It also might have been burning bush (E. alatus) but that has winged extensions on the stems, which seem to be missing from your plant.

Teresa

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

A lot of the attributes seem to match that except the leaves are not "long pointed", they are more oblong and rounded more at the end. The bark description is dead on though. I guess I'll have to wait until Spring to get definite ID!!

Doug

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

The more I do look at the USDA Plants Database though I concur with some type of Euonymus instead of a Cornus. The green bark on the smaller branches and the brown/green on the main trunk should have been a dead giveaway for that. It doesn't seem to grow into a shrub type though, more single stem tree like. Thanks for all your help! It's got me intrigued now...

Doug

Minneapolis, MN

I am really certain that it is a Euonymus, not a Cornus; no Cornus has a capsule-type fruit which splits like that.

Euonymus is a diverse family; in form it ranges from a creeping vine-like subshrub (in your area, E. fortunei and E. obovatus), to a chest-high shrub (E. americanus or E. alatus), to small single-trunk trees (E. atropurpureus or E. europaeus). If your plant does not have flattened corky protrusions from the stems, it is not E. alatus (burningbush). E. americanus, bursting heart, is an open, leggy shrub, which does not look like your photos at all. I really think you've got E. atropurpureus (wahoo) there, which is a native plant. The only other option I see is the E. europaeus (European spindletree, an introduced, non-native plant). I've seen European spindletree while researching my berry ID guides; off hand I can't recall the differences, but I don't think it is very common in Kentucky or I would have included it in the ID guide I wrote this summer for IN-KY-OH. Google the scientific names of these latter two plants, and you will quickly figure out which you have.

Regardless of what it is, it's a lovely plant, isn't it? Fall color is always nice on these, and that burst open capsule is just stunning.

Teresa

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for all your help Teresa! I've got several of them marked to go back and check next spring when they are growing again. The color on them is truly spectacular!

Doug

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

It looks to me like Euonymus americanus, also know as hearts-a-burstin or American strawberrybush. We have a lot of them in western NC. The flowers, though small and often referred to as insignificant, are also very appealing to me.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

No, I have to agree with Teresa on E. atropurpureus. After doing some searches on Google everything matches. Thanks to all for helping to solve the riddle.

Doug

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

I think you are correct. The fruit is very similar in the 2 plants but the foliage in the purpurea is larger. Thanks for the nice pics.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Justing taking a stroll through this forum...sorry I didn't see this last week.

Eastern Wahoo is certainly the answer (Euonymus atropurpureus). This species is native on calcareous soils all around KY, and pretty common in Doug's area and on up into Louisville/Jefferson County where I work, and over into the Bluegrass of central KY where I live. This shrub/small tree will be found in the limestone-based soils of eastern Louisville (like in the Beargrass Creek or Floyds Fork watersheds). That equates to park lands like Cherokee Park, Seneca Park, Long Run Park, and McNeely Lake Park.

Conversely, American Strawberrybush (Euonymus americanus) will be found in Louisville's park lands on soils of more acid reaction. It is easy to find in Iroquois Park, Waverly Park, and Jefferson Memorial Forest. Bernheim Forest lands will also harbor this plant.

None of this means that you can't find these species elsewhere, but this is where you'll likely find them occurring naturally. I've got Eastern Wahoo growing around here at the Valley without my assistance. It will usually persist for 5 or more years, fruiting annually and seeding itself in with the assistance of birds. Its lifespan is usually truncated by the regular infestation of scale, which is clearly shown on Doug's last image.

Plants here often have a beautiful red to deep orange fall color too.

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Another image from here at the Valley...

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the confirmation VV. How's things at Metro Parks?

Doug

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Dry.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Doug, is this in the woods or on the edge?
Will these do well with a lot of shade and some tree roots?

This is beautiful
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/260775/

This message was edited Nov 16, 2010 10:33 PM

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Well, I guess I'm chopped liver...

Eastern Wahoo seems to grow just about anywhere. I've observed nice specimens growing at the base of Black Walnut, as well as other very dry spots, wetter areas, and most in between.

Dense shade will likely reduce flowering, but it'll still grow. Edge of woodland with light during part of the day should produce these kinds of fruit display. This is from a northeast exposure...

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Pate, at least ~~ snicker~~

I was unclear that question 2 was open to the field of respondants. Thanks!
Since I have a good supply of native selfsown local dogwoods, I am going to take one out, plus another bush. That'll make an edge spot where I could put a Wahoo. Doug and I have a deal going--Wahoo for Bubby

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Yeah what VV said!!!!

Doug

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

And I was going to provide a photo from this week of that great big Witch Hazel from Cave Hill Cemetery in full fall color, with bloom just beginning...

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

'was going to" ? am I to be deprived for my tactlessness?

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

It is such a great plant - way more than I should just keep to myself...

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Thanks~~ Its just beauitiful

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Nice VV. I still want to get together one day and have a tour of some of the parks.

Doug

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Hey Mr postman, look and see, is there a Wahoo, a Wahoo for mee-e ee?

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

I was up in the greenhouse yesterday looking at a small one to see if it had any new growth on it yet!! It will be yours when I know it's gonna survive.

Doug

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Thanks!

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.
BACK TO TOP