While walking at the Spit yesterday, we spotted a shrub/tree with long slender green leaves, a fuchsia flower and two orange berries dangling from the centre of the flower. The tree like shrub was about 10′ high. The flower was about 1/2″ around with three petals of fuchsia/red – it was wide open showing the orange berries. The soil was sandy; the plant was shaded. I would love to know what this is. Thank you very much.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
The spit is a wonderful place to see shrubs and trees especially in their fall splendour. It is difficult to ID a plant with out a picture, however I suspect it is a Euonymus alatus or Burning Bush.
This is a fairly common shrub in Toronto which grows very well in our climate. People do not often notice the fruit as the leaves of the shrub also turn a brilliant bright red while the berries are still on the bush. This bush actually flowers in the summer. It has very small yellowish flowers that are not very notable.
What you see at this time of year is easy to mistake for a flower. After flowering a seed pod or drupe develops. As the seeds ripen the covering for the seed pod opens up into what looks like petals, but is just the seed coverings curling away from the seeds to expose them. The technical term for this is dehiscence.
This shrub is fairly well behaved in urban landscapes when it can be contained, but it is invasive in Ontario when near woodland areas because it can escape cultivation and invade a forest understory. Its seeds are widely spread by birds and wildlife. See this link from the Ontario Invading Species Awareness Program website for more information:
I have attached a link with a picture of the berries for you to compare to and information on the plant itself.