Hints of Fall

The fall flowers are starting to show up en masse now.  Asters, Ironweeds, and even Touch Me Nots are in full bloom even though I saw some leaves on the trees and the underbrush starting to change color.  The Autumnal Equinox is only a few weeks away, so I guess nature is having one last show of wildflowers before winter

Pale Touch Me Nots (Impatiens pallida) - 
Touch Me Nots are everywhere this year.  I've seen plenty of both Pale and Spotted Touch Me Nots along the trails near the stream and even along the roads in Little Sewickley Creek valley.  They must be having a "bumper crop" this year.

Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis) Non-Native -
Even though Asiatic Dayflower is not a native, it really is a pretty little flower.  I was actually surprised to see it though, I thought I normally find it late spring or early summer.  I found this specimen among at least 40 other Asiatic Dayflowers so it was an isolated incidence either.

Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) -
I'm still seeing a lot of Yellow Ironweed (Wingstem).  Its flowers are starting to lose their petals though, so they probably won't be around for much longer. 

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) - 
White Snakeroot got its name from its early use to treat snake bites.  Strangely though, I also read that it is toxic, which seems odd given its use medicinally.  Either way, its attractive white blossoms are actually clusters of tiny flowers in an arrangement that resembles Queen Anne's Lace.

Unknown Spider - 
I happened upon this spider when I bumped into a small sapling along the side of the trail.  I didn't realize it but I must have damaged its web since it immediately set to fixing the connections to the various branches and leaves.  While it was busy working I tried to get clear photos, but unfortunately very few turned out.  I tried to identify the species, but I didn't have any luck.  But I did get this picture which clearly shows its reddish legs and brown abdomen.

Spider's House - 
Eventually the spider had enough of me and ended up inside these leaves.  The spider had actually spun a web around the leaves to create the enclosure, which I think is very interesting.

Spotted Touch Me Nots (Impatiens capensis) - 
As I said above, Spotted Touch Me Nots are really abundant right now.  I found these specimens down by the creek near the water's edge still wet from the rain the night before. 

Sugar Maple Leaf (Acer saccharum) - 
The first of the leaves are starting to fall.  This Sugar Maple leaf was one of the few I saw laying along the trail and its colors really stood out.  The Maples are among the first to lose their leaves, along with the countless varieties of Viburnum in the forest's understory who leaves are starting to yellow and drop too.

White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata) - 
White Wood Aster is a low plant normally around knee height or less.   Its blossoms can be white or lavender with yellow centers; they really are quite beautiful.  Our area has a lot of Asters and most, if not all, bloom in the Fall.

More Pictures:

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis) Non-Native

Spotted Touch Me Nots (Impatiens capensis)

White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata

Overgrown Trail