by , Ranger
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
Stop by and say hello Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dino Trail.

November Settles In

November 25th, 2009

November is the time of year in our area when most of the leaves finally come tumbling down. The mornings are often shrouded in fog or mist which tends to saturate the colors of the foliage that remains until the wind and rain render bare even the hardiest vegetation.

Misty morning in the Wetlands.

Misty morning in the Wetlands.

Dwarf Sumac holds on to its leaves while many of the other trees and shrubs are bare.

Dwarf Sumac holds on to its crimson leaves while many of the other trees and shrubs are bare.

Although much of the color has faded what remains is saturated in the morning mist.

Although much of the color has faded, what remains glows in the morning mist.

A small maple brightens up the otherwise dark and leafless Wetlands.

A small maple brightens up the otherwise dark and leafless Wetlands.

Although many plants have ceased production for the year, others are just getting started. Fatsia, or Japanese Aralia, is now blooming on the Dinosaur Trail. It attracts many late season insects to its rounded flower clusters.

Fatsia flowers are reminiscent of Buttonbush's rounded flower clusters.

Fatsia's flowers are reminiscent of Buttonbush's ball-shaped flowers.

Fatsia is considered a shrub and its multi-lobed leaves are green the year round.

Fatsia's large, multi-lobed leaves are green throughout the year.

Fatsia's large, showy leaves are green in all seasons.

Mahonia, another plant with Oriental roots, is just beginning to bloom. This plant is found in several locations around the outdoor exhibits, although it is most prominently displayed on the Dinosaur Trail.

Mahonia's long flame-like flowers will produce deep purple berries in late winter. It's holly-like leaves, like fatsia, are green all year.

Mahonia is just starting to bloom on the Dinosaur Trail. It's holly-like leaves are green all year.

Mahonia's bright yellow flowers will produce deep purple berries in late winter.

The bright yellow flowers of Mahonia will produce deep purple berries in late winter-spring.

Some plants are in the process of disbursing their seeds. Groundsel Tree (a woody shrub) can be seen around the Wetlands as well as on the Dinosaur Trail. Its wind-borne seeds can be carried far from the plant on which they were produced.

Groundsel Tree's fluffy seeds are disbursed by the wind.

Groundsel Tree's fluffy seeds are disbursed by the wind.

Groundsel Tree's seed look much like dandilion seeds, althouhg somewhat larger.

Although somewhat smaller, Groundsel Tree's seeds look much like Milkweed seeds with their silken threads. The light fluffy filaments allow the wind to carry the seeds some distance from the mother plant.

Join the conversation:

  1. love your writings -are your stories or this journal available in print somewhere – at the Museum?

    Posted by Isabelle Stratton
  2. Ranger Comment :

    Thanks Isabelle. Currently, the Journal is only available to view online, but it’s an interesting idea.

    Posted by Greg Dodge, Ranger

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