Friday, November 12, 2010

Trip Report: Fall Fruits on the C&O Canal

This time of year is the last hurrah for late-fruiting trees and plants, before everything shuts down for the winter. Several of these late fruits are high in sugar and/or fat:  important to birds as they fuel their migration or hunker down for the winter, and tasty to humans. Here's a list of the things we found on our walk on the C&O Canal last Saturday. The fruits we sampled are marked with an asterisk; links are to previous posts on the Natural Capital. Check for our future walks here.

Edible fruits
Persimmon* (Diospyros virginiana)
Hackberry* (Celtis sp.)
Blackhaw* (Viburnum prunifolium)
Grape* (Vitis sp.)
Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

Persimmon tree on the C&O Canal by Cindy Cohen

Inedible fruits
Arrowood (Viburnum dentatum)
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Greenbrier (Smilax sp.)
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Bush honeysuckle (Diervilla sp.)

Staghorn sumac on the C&O Canal by Cindy Cohen

Matt with chicken & hen of the woods by Cindy Cohen
Also noted
Pawpaw (fruited earlier in the fall)
Maple (good for syrup later in the winter!)

Bonus fungi
Michael brought us two large mushroom clusters that he found in his neighbor's yard: hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) and chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). It's late for chicken but you may still see hens -- others brought big clusters to the meeting of the Mycological Association of Washington this Tuesday.

What have you been seeing out on the trail lately?