Sunday, September 6, 2009

On the Trail...

What says "Fall" in Florida?

Lately I've noticed a lot of posts around the web asking how folks recognize that 'Fall' is just around the corner. Northern posts proclaim the vibrant spectrum of colors from red to yellow in leaves that will soon tumble to the ground to become either a hated seasonal chore or a glorious moment in time either strolling through small random drifts and/or jumping into piles before they have a chance to be bagged and carted away. I lived there for nearly 40 years and while I do miss the show sometimes, I don't miss the work (kind of like my love/hate relationship with snow- beautiful when it's falling, fun to play in but after a day or so it's just cold, slushy or icy- depending on the temperature- and yellow).

I've lived in Florida for a while now and have come to see Fall here as permutations on a purple theme. Visit any natural area and you will find dozens of different wildflowers along the trails that create a purple haze among the ever-present greens. Flowers like Blazing Star (Liatris sp.), Paintbrush (Carphephorus corymbosus), Elephantsfoot (Elephantopus sp.) Garberia (Garberia heterophylla) and Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), as well as the deep purple berries of American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). Of course there are also the purples of summer flowers that just keep blooming- vines like Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and Butterfly Pea (Centrosema arenicola) plus native garden favorites like Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata) and Wild Petunia (Ruellia sp.).

Haven't seen the 'Purple' side of Fall? Visit a natural area soon- why not Camp Bayou?

References: All plant names taken from Florida Plantatlas .

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