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.
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 is considered a shrub and its multi-lobed leaves are green the year round.
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.
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.
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.
He can be found Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dinosaur Trail. Ask him what’s new in the wild!