Beautiful, isn’t it? We feature this beautiful member of the swallowtail butterfly group each year because in a week of hard-to-find nature letters, it’s a staple. But it’s also harder to find this butterfly. Its caterpillars eat only one food, the leaves of the Common Paw Paw, Asimina triloba.
This understory tree lives with its roots in wet soil, along streams and rivers.
At least those leaves are huge–10 to 12 inches long and 4-6 inches wide at the middle.
The dark red flowers bloom in the spring and turn into a fruit lumpy with large seeds in the fall. Maybe you can find a tree with caterpillars feeding on it this year.
We’ve had a great time posting this year’s Blogging From A to Z Challenge! Thanks to our many readers for joining us for a look at nature in suburbia. We hope it helps you to enjoy nature around your home!
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.
Isn’t that a gorgeous tree! It’s an oak, and common, maybe more so than you humans realize.
Chestnut Oak, Quercus prinus, is easily identified by its large rounded teeth along the margins of the leaves and growing in the higher, drier soils. The acorns are bigger than most oaks, and oval in shape.
And speaking of acorns… We squirrels are having a plentiful year, but as always, it’s a tiring chore preparing for winter. A regular reader asked if we’d be taking our winter hiatus again, and the answer is yes. We have some catching up to do. Nutmeg and I need to pick when, but it’ll be soon.
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!