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Mariton: Fall Colors Part I

October 27, 2015

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Red Maple Foliage

Red Maple Foliage

We reveled in the fall colors on the Tuesday Nature Walk. Over the last week, the leaves have really been changing at Mariton. Leaves like the Red Maple and Sassafras are just coming into their prime. Yes, some trees lost their leaves after the hard frost, and more leaves will drop during this week’s rain. Still, there are lots of beautiful leaves at Mariton, and the oaks have barely started changing color.  There is lots of time to get out and enjoy the Autumn beauty.

Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn Sumac

As we near the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy (October 29, 2012), it is interesting to think about that storm’s effect on this year’s fall colors. The Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) needs lots of sunlight and we wouldn’t see this species in our woodlands. After the storm, it began colonizing the blowdown areas, (which is probably keeping some of the non-native invasive plants at bay). Sumac’s fall foliage is brilliant, as Carole captured in this photo. (In case you are wondering, this IS NOT the same as Poison Sumac(Toxicodendron vernix). I can almost guarantee that anyone reading this will never come in contact with poison sumac because of where it grows. If you are one of the few that comes in contact with it you already know how to recognize it in the field.)

Red Maple on the forest edge.

Red Maple on the forest edge.

Before the hurricane it was hard to take good photos of the Red Maples (Acer rubrum) in our forest, because they were shielded from view by the dominant Tuliptrees. Now the red maples are on the edges of clearings and loving all the extra sunlight.

Another spectacular Red Maple.

Another spectacular Red Maple.

Since I am showing you Carole’s red foliage shots from our walk, I’ll end with one of my favorites.  The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissis quinquefolia).  This photo was taken along the stone wall that borders the Turnpike Trail.

Virginia Creeperr

Virginia Creeper

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