So… we recently had a taste of winter.
It wasn’t actually that cold – just in the 50’s – but it was cloudy, chilly, humid and reminiscent of a Mississippi winter.
So I’m dreaming of the blue skied crisp fall days to come.
The asters are budded and the magnolias have red seeded cones. The grasses are seeding and Maryland goldenaster is blooming on the roadsides.
A scattering of colored leaves is beginning to tint the woods just a bit.
But right now Euonymus americanus is the most fallish plant in my garden. It has nary a stained leaf but it offers the most interesting and lovely fruit.
Euonymus americanus (aka hearts a busting; wahoo, strawberry bush, brook euonymus) is a fall precursor. By the time our fall color really lights up, the hearts a busting fruit will be gone – shattered or consumed by hungry birds
Now, though, it is peaking and showing out on this gloomy day.
The hot pink warty covering has split to expose several intense orange pulp covered seed. The scarlet arils are oblong and pendant with a seed that is curiously shaped like a baby tooth.
The orange and pink medley is as lovely as any flower and the plants are loaded. They reflect the light and capture my attention. Even on this overcast day, they are begging to be picked and tucked into a flower arrangement.
Euonymus americanus is a narrow upright shrub that suckers to form small colonies.
Foliage will turn strawberry pink or creamy before falling. The angular green stems will be left to dominate during winter.
In the wild this native is found along creek banks with river birch, pawpaw and Christmas fern.
Generally, in a woodland setting, though, the fruit set is scanty. Deer nibble young leaves and stems so that flowering and fruiting are minimal.
My back yard is not a deer free zone by any means but the close proximity to my house allows the wahoo to persevere.
On this murky day I am grateful for that!