Woods wandering

American chestnutOn this gorgeous fall day I decided to wander the woods in an area I infrequently visit — the slope above my house.  I found two of these American chestnut (Castanea dentata) trees.  No, they are not large because most American chestnuts never do grow very large these days before the blight kills them back again.  And I was delighted to discover these beautiful trees so close by.  Here’s another view of their leaves in the late afternoon sunlight.

American chestnutNearby, I made another amazing discovery.  I found one of the pink lady’s slippers in its fall foliage.

Pink lady's slipperSince I have never seen this plant in the fall, I was fascinated to see and study its seed head.

Pink lady's slipperWhile continuing my wandering, I noticed lots of dried wildflower heads, spectacularly colorful leaves backlit against a vibrant blue sky, and intriguing bark patterns highlighted by strong shadows.  Can you guess which tree has each of these bark patterns?

Chestnut oak barkSourwood barkScrub pine barkThe answers (from top to bottom) are:  chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) and scrub pine (Pinus virginiana).  I plan to photograph lots more examples of various trees’ bark patterns.  I frequently test how well I know a tree by identifying it from its bark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this splendid fall day — wandering in the woods.

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