Wahoo is a native small tree or large shrub found as an understory plant in rich woods and along stream banks. It is a colony-forming plant. It has small, purple hanging flowers in spring, beautiful fall color and 4-capsuled fruit in fall. It may be difficult to find in nurseries.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
- Family (English) Staff-tree
- Family (botanic) Celastraceae
- Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
- Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
- Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
- Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
- Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional flooding
- Season of interest late spring, late summer, early fall, mid fall
- Flower color and fragrance Purple
- Shape or form Irregular, Round, Thicket-forming
- Growth rate Moderate