Fruits of Fall

Tonight I’m sharing a couple of fascinating fruits that Pete and found on a late October hike from last year. Both of these plants are in the bittersweet (Celastraceae) family.

First up is Euonymus atropurpureus, or the eastern wahoo. This is a relative of the strawberry bush but is much more widespread across the state. I put one of these in the yard this past fall and am hoping it will establish itself. Like the strawberry bush, this fruit will split in autumn or winter, exposing four scarlet seeds.

Fruits of Euonymus atropurpureus (eastern wahoo). Photographed on 21/OCT/2021 in St. Francois County, MO.

Next up is Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet), a twinning woody vine that sometimes behaves as a bush. Pete and I enjoyed a few of these sweet, intensely-red fruits. Thankfully, we did not enjoy too many as I read afterwards that these are mildly toxic if eaten. Neither of us felt any ill effects afterwards.

Fruits of Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet). Photographed on 27/OCT/2021 in St. Francois County, MO.

-Ozark Bill