Eastern Box Turtle, Joe-pye Weed, and the Scarlet Pimpernel

It was good to get out into the woods again after having been away for a long vacation and I was pretty excited to see some of my favorite fall wildflowers are already blooming.  The woods were pretty dry, at least compared to the summer we've had.

Pale Touch Me Not (Impatiens pallida) - 
Pale Touch Me Nots are starting to come on strong now.  I've been seeing them in large clusters along the roads around Little Sewickley Creek and I can't say I remember seeing them in such concentrations before.  But, as in most species, there are "bumper crops" and lean years, this must be a good year for them.

Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) - 
Yellow Ironweed is more commonly known as Wingstem, named for the wing like protrusions that run the length of it stem.  However I call it Yellow Ironweed since the general shape of the plant and its flowering characteristics are very similar to the several species of Ironweed that are in our area.  The yellow flower petals will soon drop leaving only the flower "bud" to remain.

Turkeytail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor) - 
Turkeytail Mushrooms are one of the first mushrooms I ever identified and to this day I'm still fascinated by the variety of colors they exhibit.  It's also one of the few mushrooms that have a growing season during the colder months and will  "winter-over" to the spring.  As a matter of fact, I've found some of the most beautiful specimens during the coldest months of the year.

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) - 
I've been hoping to photograph a Box Turtle pretty much since I bought my camera... so it's kinda funny that it's taken me almost four years to happen upon one.  This was a pretty large specimen and I've read they can live for anywhere from 50 to 100 years.  So in reality, this turtle could be much older than even me...

Tall Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) -
Tall Ironweed is one of my favorite fall wildflowers because of the deep purple hue of its blossoms and because it lasts into Autumn, when most plants in the forests are starting to die off.  I recently read that Ironweeds Genus name is in honor of William Vernon, an English botanist who first started collecting Ironweeds in the 1600s.

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) - 
In my experience, I typically find Great Blue Lobelia along the stream in moister parts of the floodplain.  Its wonderful blue and white flowers are clustered together on a tall stem that typically reaches about waist height.  I found this specimen near the creek on the stream's floodplain.

Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) - 
This is the first I've identified Joy-Pye weed.  According to Wikipedia, a native american healer during colonial times named Joe Pye (Jopi in his native tongue), used this plant to treat a variety of ailments the colonists were experiencing and the name stuck.  I found this specimen right along the stream near the headwaters of Little Sewickley creek.

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) Non-Native - 
Even though Scarlet Pimpernel is not native to our area, it really is a beautiful little flower that deserves recognition.  Is tiny little orange blossoms are probably some of the most beautiful of any wildflowers in our region and are actually very difficult to photograph.  Scarlet Pimpernel also has a large number of other commonly used names:  Red Pimpernel, Red Chickweed, Poorman's Barometer, Poorman's Weather-Glass, Shepherd's Weather-Glass, and Shepherd's Clock.

More Pictures:

Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum)

Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia)

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

Tall Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)

Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) Non-Native

Pale Touch Me Not (Impatiens pallida)

Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Non-Native