Crow’s Nest: Fall color preview

October 7, 2023

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Fall color is just beginning—there is a lot to come, and peak might be two weeks out yet.

Red fall color in a grove of black gum trees

Photo: Daniel Barringer

The first fall color of the season is black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) here growing in a grove. It’s the earliest to turn, and also the earliest to lose its leaves. Below, Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquifolia) adds a dash of scarlet to the trunks of trees.

Virginia creeper leaves in full scarlet fall color

Photo: Daniel Barringer

There are hints of yellow but most of the fall color season is ahead of us.

Fall flowers continue to amaze. Below, three shades of color in one species in one meadow in one day: bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii).

Bottle gentian flowers with a deep blue color

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Bottle gentian flowers with a pale blue color

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Bottle gentian flowers showing a purple color

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Film cameras and digital cameras historically tended to struggle to reproduce blue accurately, but I think these represent three points on the spectrum of these flowers’ color faithfully.

There is much more to see here at this time of year. Below, white oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) blooms in a tractor path.

White asters blooming in the foreground with an old barn in the background

Photo: Daniel Barringer