Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Flowers

Spring flowers are a nice thing. Maybe seeing bright colors after a drab winter is the reason that spring flowers are so memorable. But right now I am enjoying fall flowers…. Goldenrods (Solidago), Asters (Aster) White-snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) and Beggar-ticks (Bidens) are just a few of the beauties that are blooming now. September is a good time to appreciate them. Fall leaf color is not competing for our attention yet.

I had to get out my plant references to identify the White-snakeroot that is blooming (white) along the 611 bypass near Danboro. It wasn’t in “Weeds of the Northeast” so I went to “The Plants of Pennsylvania”. I like “Weeds of the Northeast” because it lists several hundred common weedy plants and has lots of color pictures. “The Plants of Pennsylvania” doesn’t have color pictures but lists several thousand species! It helps to have a rough idea of what you’re looking for when consulting it. So, as I was researching the White-snake root I learned that there are 18 Euparoriums, 45 Asters and 26 Solidagos in Pennsylvania.

Besides the colorful show that fall blooms provide, many of them provide forage for insects, including honey bees. If you are near a bee hive in September, the fragrance of goldenrod and aster nectar is unmistakable.
If you enjoy identifying local flora, the two books I mentioned are excellent references. You can find both of them at on-line book sellers.

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in Washington Crossing, PA is offering guided wildflower walks this fall, daily at 2 p.m. for a small fee. A great way to learn the names of more fall bloomers.

1 comment:

Lee Young said...

Hey Scott,

Interesting that you mention white snakeroot, as I have a grower in my area who has noticed it growing rather rankly at his place. He is worried that it could be poisonous to his pastured hogs. In your research, have you come across any information about toxicity to livestock?

Lee Young, Washington County