Sycamore’s white upper bark stands out against the clear blue skies of fall. This tall hardwood does especially well near water. Look up and enjoy the view as you stroll the outdoor exhibit areas of the Museum.
The deep purple berries of Pokeweed are quickly disappearing, leaving only the magenta stems of the plant to glisten in the afternoon sun. Gray Catbirds relish Poke Berries as do many of the other mimic thrushes and thrushes that are passing through our area at this time of year.
The Wetlands is already beginning to shine with falls colors, not quite at the seasonal peak of course, but a change is coming. What Lotus leaves that haven’t turned brown and shriveled on their stalks now glow in the low autumn sun.
Look for MorningGlory as you stroll the Outdoor Exhibits, as well as other flowers which save their best for this time of year. Goldenrod, SpottedHorsemint, TickseedSunflower, and Smartweed brighten up any walk around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop.
FloweringDogwood’s bright, red fruit is primed and ready to be eaten.
Many species of birds and several mammals eat the dogwood’s fruit and it appears as though this was a good year for seed production by the dogwoods.
Dwarf, or Winged Sumac, is know for it’s leaves turning brilliant scarlet in fall.
Another tree which has a long list of birds lined up to eat it’s fruit is Black Tupelo, or Blackgum (Nyssa Sylvatica). It’s dark blue or purple fruit is eaten by some 30 species of birds.
The golden honey produced by bees from the flowers of tupelo trees in spring is well known and valued for it sweetness and purity. Perhaps you’ve heard of “Tupelo Honey.” The finest grade honey is produced from Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) and Ogeechee Tupelo, or White Tupelo (Nyssa ogeche), which both grow in more wet situations than Black Tupelo, such as bottomland swamps and sloughs. Honey produced from Black Tupelo, while still referred to as Tupelo Honey, is darker and is often used as baking grade honey. A Black Tupelo Tree grows on the Dinosaur Trail across from the entrance to the Fossil Dig Site; you may have noticed the purple stains from the berries on the pavement below the tree.