Fall Shakerag Walk

On the first day of fall, Saturday September 22, Yolande Gottfried led a walk for the Herbarium through Shakerag Hollow.  With perfect clear, crisp weather and soil still moist from rains earlier in the week, conditions were unusually good for this time of year. A few plants were in bloom: goldenrods, of course, and common blue wood-aster and white wood-aster, along with leafcup, pale touch-me-not, Canadian wood-nettle (with stinging hairs), and Canadian clearweed (without stinging hairs). The stars of the show, however, were the fruits. The ground was covered with chestnut oak and other acorns and shagbark hickory nuts-looks like a mast year. Doll’s-eyes (or white baneberry) looked as baneful as always. Bright orange berries hung below the foliage of yellow mandarin and red drupes dotted the spicebush. Bladdernut’s inflated capsules rattled satisfyingly. Some surprisingly well-developed umbrella magnolia fruiting aggregates had fallen and spilled their red seeds below the tree. Shakerag delights in every season.

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