Sunday, September 30, 2012

Virginia Creeper: Tree climbing queen of early October

VIRGINIA CREEPER - my woods,  Brandon Twp. Michigan Sept. 30, 2012
Photos by Jonathan Schechter

Virginia creeper, a native vine of eastern and central North America is at its brilliant best in the early weeks of autumn.   This vine makes a rapid transformation from a drab green to a spectacular shade of scarlet-red as days shorten,  nights cool and sandhill cranes gather in flocks. Although it also grows on the ground given a good 'foot hold' it grabs onto a tree and reaches for they sky like this magnificent specimen on an elm tree just 50 feet from my house.  Many people that are not nature savvy confuse this five leaflet plant with poison ivy, also taking on shades of reddish color at this time of the season. Poison ivy however has  just three leaflets.
The color transformation of Virgina creeper signals me the color dances of sugar and red maples and sassafras trees are close behind and its time for me to address my incurable wanderlust fever.
Northward bound to bigger woods - one day soon!



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