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A Neenering We Will Go, Part II: What Passes For Fall Color

We are walking back along the Neener Path. Sigyn is exclaiming about the “fall color” we are beginning to see. Now, this part of Midgard doesn’t get the blazing reds, yellows, and oranges that other parts do, but she is very cutely appreciative of what we do get.

There is just a hint of red in the Virginia creeper and the holly berries.

The shining sumac is having even more success.

We will have to remember to come back to look at it again later, since it should just get brighter and brighter as the season wears on. By the time the leaves start falling, it will match my sweetie’s outfit entirely. As it is now, she’s the brightest thing on this path.

In addition to red, there is a good deal of one particularly garish shade of pinkish purple. I speak, of course, of the beautyberry berries.

It clashes with everything!

The insides of the fruit are a rather disappointing yellowish hue. I really wish the color went all the way through, because then you could do useful things with the berries, like dye some fabric that would look hideous on the human female, or else just leave some berries in her chair to dye the seat of her shorts in lurid fuchsia spots. Pants acne!

This same color, watered down, is actually pretty common around here in the fall. The human female would say its because certain classes of anthycyanin pigments are found in a number of plants and… Blah, blah, blah–snore! Shut up and look at the flowers.

The morning glories are the same kind as the ones back at the house.

Even some of the stemmy bits are purplish.

Some of the fall-flowering beans take the color even lighter. This fuzzybean (Sigyn, did YOU name it?) does it,

and so does this tick-trefoil.

Those little beany flowers are only barely pinky-purple. We will have to come back when more of them are in fruit, because–if I remember correctly–the fruits are covered with tiny hooked hairs that cling onto everything. If I can get the human female in a fuzzy sweatshirt and off balance, one good nudge should serve to get her covered head to toe with botanical velcro bits.

Oh–here we are with the bright shade again. This is the human female’s beloved false foxglove.

That she can’t get in focus to save her life. Well, actually, it’s not her plant–that’s the one that grows on the outcrop in the next county over. This is just its more common, more glamorous cousin.

It’s like a little, pinky-purple sorting hat.

And that appears to be the end of the fall color for today. There are plenty of leaves falling, but they’re doing it without changing to anything but brown.

Some of the leave are quite large.

I’m not sure where this huge burr oak leaf blew in from; I haven’t seen one anywhere around here.

And here is the champion of all!

Not the largest sycamore leaf I’ve ever seen, but certainly big enough to make a decent party tent for someone Sigyn’s size. But no, sweetie, I don’t think you should carry it home as a souvenir. It’s a little breezy today, and if you hold that leaf up, it’s going to soar like a kite and take you with it! If you really want it, make the human female carry it.

The neighbors already think she’s weird.

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Here a Neener, There a Neener, Everywhere a Neener-neener, Part II: New Releases (and possibly some shoving)

Yesterday we looked at plants we’d already seen recently. Nice, but a bit BORING. Where are the new things? I checked the calendar. It is FALL now. Show me fall things!! I demand fall things!

Ah. This is better. False foxglove. Shows up like clockwork the third week of September.

Sigyn and I have a fondness for this plant. Well, one of it’s relatives, anyway—the rare one that grows on that outcrop to the east of us. I wonder if we’ll get to visit the outcrop again this year?

What does one call that color, anyway? Pink? Purple? Pirpkle? Whatever it is, it seems to be a theme. (Trust Texas to have non-traditional fall color!)

The Beautyberry is quite conspicuous in the understory.

Gaudy, but great for dangling. (The one at the house does not have any fruit this year, on account of I let the tree-removers drop a big oak tree on it earlier this year and it is in the process of recovering.)

The Beggar-ticks has flowers the same color, only a few shades paler.

It has typical bean-family flowers and makes interesting little legumes (one of which is visible at the left end of the stem). They’re scalloped and break up into single-seeded bits that are just covered with microscopic hooked hairs, which makes them perfect for being dispersed by furry animals or clothing. I will keep an eye on this extensive patch, come back in a few weeks when they’re good and ripe, gather up a pound or so of them, and do a little experiment to see what happens when you dump them in the washer with a load that includes socks, sweatpants, and towels. (I’m all about the science.)

Looks like the Woolly Croton is doing well this year.

It has separate male and female flowers and is very, very furry.

Hey, I have an idea! Let’s see how well the Beggar-ticks stick to the Croton! A wildflower cage-match. It’ll be brilliant! I can sell tickets. . .

Whatever else Sigyn does on a nature walk, if she gets a chance to sit in a holly, she calls it a perfect day. The fruit on this Possumhaw are about half-ripe.

A little further along the path we have yellow rather than pirpkle. Unless I’m mistaken (which I rarely am), we are looking at Camphorweed.

That’s the flower head in the photo, but the wispy foliage to the left belongs to Horseweed, and the leaves to the right to another something else. (Sigyn, are you going to play ‘He loves me; he loves me not’ with the flower? Because I can tell you, if the ‘He’ is me; he definitely, definitely DOES!)

The something else those leaves belong to is, I think, Climbing Hempvine. The human female says, “it’s our only local viney member of the sunflower family or Asteraceae.”

She also says it’s related to the Mistflower. I can see that. Both have the same fluffy flower heads. There is certainly a lot of it here, sprawling over shrubs and climbing trees. It likes wet feet, so I imagine it is very happy here in the ditch by the path.

(That’s it, human female… Lean out over the wet ditch just a little bit more for the photo and it will be my perfect day… A little bit more… One good shove…)

Odin’s eyepatch! I hate it when she catches me plotting and removes herself to safety. I really, really wanted to see her sopping wet and muddy today! Oh, well. Maybe I will have another chance for mischief on the way home…

Hmm. There’s more water next to the sidewalk on the way home, a big floody area by the part of the wetland they didn’t build Large, Ugly Apartments on. I could push her down the slope into the Bagpod bushes…

Nah. She likes the clusters of redorangeyellow flowers so much and enjoys popping the seeds out of the inflated legumes enough that she’d probably just sit happily in the water enjoying the plant.

She wouldn’t like being pushed into the Horsenettles though. They have lovely flowers, but they’re very prickly.

In fact–ouch!–this member of the Nightshade genus–ah!— is– ow!—very unpleasant to sit in! I think I shall vacate! Besides, the sun has risen enough that it has cleared the surrounding trees and buildings, and it’s making me all squinty.

I don’t like squinty.

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