The rain is taking down all our leaves–but we squirrels are very glad to have it! A wet woods seems to be a safe woods. Here’s a look at the last of our fall color–the red oak trees!- on the golf course from an explore Hickory and I took a few days ago.
It’s orange, so you bet this mushroom has been named for your human holiday!
We’re a few days late, but Hickory and I just ran across a Jack-o’-Lantern mushroom, Omphalotus olearius, and wanted to share it.
Not only is this mushroom orange, but its gills glows in the dark–when the mushrooms are newly sprouted, which these are not. We squirrels didn’t try to photograph the glow, so suggest you look at the Cornell Mushroom Blog. The cool thing is, it’s the same luminescent enzyme, luciferase, that makes fireflies glow.
Besides looking a bit ragged, these may even be eaten around the edges, but that’s not by humans! Do not touch this species, because like many of the scary things about Halloween, this mushroom is poisonous.
It’s fall, how about a leaf mystery?
We’ll check in later!
The Black Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, always turns a beautiful color in our woods–though it might be reds to purples as you see here, or yellows and oranges.
Sometimes known as Black Gum or Blackgum, this native tree blooms in late spring and produces a berry that is high in energy for birds. You humans hardly ever see them because they are so small and get eaten very quickly.
The name ‘tupelo’ comes from the Native American Creek words “ito” for tree and “opilwa” for swamp. We don’t have many swampy areas where we live, so haven’t taken note of that. Maybe if they do live in wetter areas, the tree grows larger. Here in Northern Virginia, the Black Tupelo is a smaller, slow growing tree.
That’s one, in the center foreground, with the yellowish leaves, right beside the trunk of a mature Black Tupelo tree. Very pretty, and one we’d sure recommend you humans look at if you are picking out something native and helpful for wildlife!