ALLISON SHAW, Naturalist Sharon Woods
The eastern wahoo, an often-overlooked tree, is a beautiful find in autumn. It grows up to 20-feet-high and you will notice its bright red fruit immediately. They resemble bittersweet fruits and have four parts with an outer pink covering. The fruits are poisonous to humans but serve as a late-fall food source for wildlife. Native Americans and pioneers used the powdered bark as a laxative.
Like many plants, this small tree has several common names. Its vibrant red fruits lend it the name of the eastern burning bush. Pioneers once called them hearts-a- bustin-with-love.
Wahoos can be found along the main roadway in Sharon Woods (by the Maple Grove Picnic Area) and in all of our parks. It makes a great addition to people’s yards and does well in shade.