Sub-category: Bittersweet family
This plant is an invasive species of woodlands in eastern North America. The stems are notable for their four corky ridges or 'wings'. The botanical name alatus (formerly alata) is the Latin word for winged, in reference to the winged branches. The common name 'burning bush' comes from the bright red fall color. This deciduous shrub grows to 2.5 m tall, often wider than tall. The leaves are 2 to 7 cm long and 1 to 4 cm broad, ovate-elliptic, with an acute apex. The flowers are greenish, borne over a long period in the spring. The fruit is a red aril enclosed by a four-lobed pink, yellow or orange capsule.
Despite being invasive, it is often used in landscaping for it's attractive fall foliage. Commonly found along roadsides and forest edges.