Basic Mesic Forest-- Seasonal Highlights

Spring Highlights

  • Yellow blooms of yellow trout-lily, Indian cucumber, northern spicebush, and tuliptree

  • Pink or lavender to white blooms of eastern redbud, liverleaf, Virginia springbeauty, and violets

  • White blooms of mayapple, bloodroot, smooth Solomon’s seal, Solomon’s plume, flowering dogwood, blackhaw, southern arrow-wood, cutleaf toothwort, star chickweed, and hairy sweet-cicely

  • Maroon blooms of pawpaw

  • Greenish to purple hoods of Jack-in-the-pulpit

  • Fresh pale green leaves emerging after winter—tuliptree leaves among the earliest

  • Migratory and year-round resident birds nest-building; some young beginning to hatch by mid to late spring

  • Pollinators on early spring flowers such as pawpaw

Summer Highlights

  • Lush greenery on the forest floor

  • Multiple kinds of ferns fully unfurled

  • Yellow blooms of richweed

  • Orange blooms of orange jewelweed

  • Tiny white blooms of broadleaf enchanter’s-nightshade

  • Lime green fruit of mayapple and pawpaw

  • Red berries of Solomon’s plume

  • Dark berries of Indian cucumber

  • Butterflies, moths and other insect pollinators

  • Hungry baby birds calling to parents; busy, busy parents finding food; fledglings learning to fly

  • Redback salamanders rustling under damp leaves

Autumn Highlights

  • Green ferns persist until frost

  • Yellow leaves of tuliptree, northern spicebush, American hornbeam, and American beech—by far the most obvious fall color

  • Red leaves of flowering dogwood

  • White blooms of white wood-aster

  • Orange blooms of orange jewelweed

  • Red berries of Jack-in-the-pulpit, Solomon’s plume, northern spicebush, flowering dogwood, American strawberry-bush, (and the invasive non-native linden arrow-wood shrub)

  • Dark berries of southern arrow-wood and blackhaw

  • Green pawpaw fruits with brown spots as they ripen

  • Squirrels eating beechnuts and American hornbeam nutlets

  • Birds harvesting berries

  • Toads preparing to burrow deep in the soil for winter

Winter Highlights

  • Interesting shapes and textures: majestic straight trunks of tuliptree; smooth, gray bark and “rippled muscle” trunks of American hornbeam

  • White streaks ("ski-trails") on trunks of northern red oak

  • Fat onion-shaped flower buds of flowering dogwood

  • White-tailed deer browsing on bare twigs of trees and shrubs

  • Winter birds