Fall Colors Bring Cheer


Though the October 24, 2022, sky was overcast, fall’s colors cheered 22 enthusiasts on a walk led by Margaret Chatham and Alan Ford with the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

Photos by Glenda Booth and Bob Veltkamp

margaret_chatham_fall_colors_walk-GB.jpg   linden viburnum berries BV
Margaret Chathan described the features
of linden viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum) leaves.

 Linden viburnum berries

Alan Ford fall colors walk GB
Alan Ford is President of the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society

“The colors of fall leaves depend on how much sun the leaves get during the season,” explained Chatham. “If a plant is in full sun, it is likely to turn red; in shadier areas, yellow.”  Good examples are the star-shaped sweetgum tree’s leaves which can be yellow, red or purplish.

sweetgum leaves 1 GB   sweetgum leaves 2 GB
Sweetgum tree leaves (Liquidamber styraciflua)

Reds were prominent, like the smooth sumac’s (Rhus glabra) leaves and conically-shaped, pointed drupes or fruits and Virginia creeper vines (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

smooth sumac leaves BV   smooth sumac fruit GB
Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra
virginia creeper BV
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
poison ivy GB
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicals) provided a slightly more orange hue.
leaf cutter bees on redbud GB
Leaf-cutter bees (Dianthidium spp.) had munched on this redbud tree’s (Cercis canadenisis) leaves.
bee visiting panicled asters BV
Bees were visiting the panicled asters (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum).
sneezeweed BV
Alan Ford explained that the name for sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is based on the former use of its dried leaves in making snuff. Snuff was inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits.
New York ironweed BV
New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
juvenile eastern ratsnake GB
As the group headed out, a juvenile Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) slithered across the trail.


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