|Hearts a-bustin', Euonymus americanusis|
When this shrub blooms in the spring, its flowers are a bit ho-hum. Small, green, inconspicuous.
It's the fruits that garner all the attention. The common name of this understory shrub refers to the plant's colorful, emotive seed pods which are now ripe and a-bustin'.
Once the seeds have matured, the magenta capsules burst, scattering the red seeds up to 15 feet. Known in the Smoky Mountains by the folk name hearts a-bustin', (Euonymus americanusis) is now doing just that: a bustin'.
Look for it on the back terrace at the Ijams Visitor Center.
- Story and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales