Minnesota Doesn’t Want to See a Winged Wahoo In Your Yard
It sounds like it might be some type of bird, but the winged wahoo is actually a plant-- and one Minnesota officials really hope ISN'T in your yard.
Actually, while the winged wahoo MAY still be in your yard, you won't be able to plant a NEW one in your yard in the future here in Minnesota. That's because the winged wahoo-- or, as it's more commonly called by officials with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the winged burning bush (named that because its branches develop reddish, corky 'wings,' giving it a distinctive appearance)-- has just been added to Minnesota's Noxious Weed List in 2020 as a Specially Regulated Plant. That means nurseries and growers in Minnesota will need to phase the plant out of production over the next three years.
After that, in 2023, the winged wahoo-- I mean, the winged burning bush-- is set to join Minnesota's Restricted Noxious Weed category, meaning it will be prohibited from sale, propagation, and transport in the state of Minnesota. So what's the deal with this striking red plant, and why is Minnesota trying to get rid of it?
Well, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (which named the winged burning bush the Weed of the Month for October 2020) while it's pretty, it's an invasive plant that was first brought to North America in the mid-1800s as an ornamental shrub.
But, of course, then things got out of hand-- and the winged burning bush started causing problems for native plants as it started to grow out of control in the Minnesota landscape. The gardening site GardenBite.com says it's not just a problem here, either: "Wisconsin names it an invasive and has classified it as Restricted. Turns out that beloved red flame of a bush invades forests, open woods, forest edges, pastures, prairies and roadsides too. It’s been reported as invasive throughout the northeast and Midwest," the site said.
It turns out some of them also don't respond well to our really cold (think 30 below zero) winter temperatures in Minnesota. So if you have a winged burning bush in your yard, state officials say you might want to have it removed and replace it with more a scenic shrub or planter native to our area.
And keep scrolling for another thing you probably don't want to see in your yard, either: the 17 different species of snakes that call Minnesota home!