Autumn has arrived.  I see more and more leaves falling and the woods are even starting to smell like fall.  This is also the time of the Asters; the woods are full of more wildflowers of the Aster family than I can identify.  And they exhibit a variety of white, blue, purple and purplish-white blossoms, making it even more difficult to identify them but it's enjoyable.

Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) - 
This Eastern American Toad kept hopping around so it was tough to get any good pictures, but he was easy to track in the grass along the trail because everywhere he went, the blades of grass shook from his movements.  Eastern American Toads are fairly common in our area and this little guy looked really healthy.

Blue Wood Aster (Symphotrichum cordifolium) - 
Blue Wood Aster is known for its flowers, which have petals that can range from blue, pink, and white.  This perennial is a common plant in our area and can be found in moist, rich soils along the floodplain and in the uplands.

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) - 
Purple Pokeweed berries look juicy and delicious, but they are poisonous unless they are completely ripe.  And since they are "sometimes" poisonous, I think it's best not to even tempt fate and steer clear.  American Pokeweed is commonly found along the edges of fields and roads and is a tall plant standing nearly seven feet at times.

Acorn - 
This especially large acorn was laying in the middle of the trail along with many other acorns, most of which had already matured and turned brown.  Because of its size, I would guess this acorn is from a Chesnut Oak (Quercus prinus) a member of the White Oak family that is known for its oversized, oval shaped acorns.

Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) - 
Smooth Blue Aster is another one of the Asters prevalent in our area.  Its blossoms feature lavender-blue petals surrounding a yellow central disk.  Smooth Blue Aster gets its name from its stems, which are smooth and not toothed.  Its flowers are quite beautiful and I found this specimen down near the stream on the floodplain.

Green Sweat Beas (Augochlora pura) - 
Green Sweat Beas have a metallic green color that looks especially beautiful in the full sunlight.  I found this specimen on an Aster plant busy gorging on pollen and nectar.  While I'm not 100% certain in this identification, this is the third or fourth time I've photographed Green Sweat Beas so I am staring to become familiar with them.

Turkeytail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor) -
I've said a few times recently that I'm starting to see a lot of Turkeytail Mushrooms, so I hope it means it will be a good year for them.  The variety of colors they display is impressive and I hope I'll be photographing them through the winter.


Woodland Goldenrod (Solidago caesia) - 
Just like the Asters, there are a lot of different Goldenrods around our area, which is horrible for allergy sufferers but good for wildflower photographers...  Woodland Goldenrod is typically found in the upland forests as apposed to the fields and meadows that host most other Goldenrods.

Small White Aster (Symphyotrichum racemosum) - 
I believe this is the first I've photographed Small White Aster, as I can't seem to remember any Asters with such small flowers.  Real small... each of its flowers are no larger than a dime or nickel.  Similar to other Asters, its flowers are typcially white or blusih-white and can have yellow and pink central disks.  This specimen stood no higher than knee height and was found in an old field being overtaken by wildflowers and grasses.

Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) - 
I'm growing more and more confident at recognizing Oyster mushrooms, but I am still not ready to try eating them.  They are known as a "choice edible" though so they're probably delicious.  Also, I've photographed a lot of Oysters this year, most likely a result of the wet summer we had.

Woodland Aster (Symphyotrichum divaricatus) - 
Woodland Aster is a low plant, typically knee-high or lower and has medium sized blossoms that are often clustered in groups.  The blossoms vary from white to purple with the yellow centers that are typcial of Asters featured prominently.

More Pictures:

Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum)

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)


Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)