Crow’s Nest: Fall is for… flowers

September 29, 2023

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

New England aster flowers

Photo: Daniel Baringer

Maybe flowers are not what we think of in autumn, but there are still plenty, and even some that are just starting. New England asters (above) are joining wood asters in bloom all over the preserve.

Bottle gentian flowers

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), above, are blooming now in our northern meadows and savanna.

White turtlehead flowers in a meadow

Photo: Daniel Barringer.

White turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is blooming in wet meadows, above, as well as ladies’ tresses orchid (Spiranthes cernua), below. The latter can be very difficult to find in flower and some years I don’t.

Ladies' tresses orchid flowers

By Daniel Barringer

There is a bold beauty to a field of Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), though it doesn’t bloom long. Catch it while you can! Below, it grows in the meadow on Northside Road, with milkweed in the foreground.

A field of goldenrod with trees in the background

By Daniel Barringer

Fall is also known for fall color and fruit, so here are the fruit of American dogwood (Cornus florida), below.

Fruit on a branch of American dogwood

Photo: Daniel Barringer

And a grove of shining sumac, (Rhus copallinum) adds a layer of color to the meadow near our parking lot and entrance. When sumac stems started showing up in the meadow we decided to keep an area of it, leaving it un-mowed when we cut back the rest of the meadow. Then this summer Kate cut the bittersweet vines off of it, leaving a beautiful clump that adds color and structure to the meadow. We try to take advantage of these chance opportunities when they arise.

Shining sumac shrubs turning red with autumn in a meadow

Photo: Daniel Barringer