A September Hike—the Native Plants You’ll See
Native plant geeks pick their favorite fall hikes:
Gerry Rising: “My favorite fall plants are arguably the most common: asters and goldenrods. While others are looking up at the electrifying maples, I am more attracted to the shades of gold and blue or purple that adorn our fields, often together. That these simple ‘weeds’ should provide so much beauty I find deeply satisfying.”
Lyn Chimera grows and shows visitors hundreds of native plants during Open Gardens every July. Among less widely known plants she notes, “Look for the White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum). It is typically at the edge of a woods, in masses.”
Ken Parker reminds hikers to look at the berrying shrubs and up to the trees: Serviceberry leaves have turned shades of yellow and orange. Wild grapevines and red-leaved Virginia Creepers are climbing high. Staghorn and Fragrant Sumac are offering bright and nutritious scarlet drupes.
My own favorite native perennial is New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis), in part because I have encouraged many clumps to spread from one plant (now eight feet tall) that I bought twenty years ago.
Take a walk. Try to identify native from nonnative plants and notice what the birds and insects are using.
Read more about native plants and the Native Plants Collaborative here.