September 23 Fall Color Report

September 23 Fall Color Report
Autumnal Equinox
A full moon greets this year’s autumnal equinox as summer officially gives way to fall. Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the fall color is just getting started. The landscapes remain predominantly green, but many species have begun to turn, especially at higher elevations above 5000’.

Jesse Pope, Chief Naturalist at Grandfather Mountain, reports that American ash, Red and Sugar maples, and some birches are starting to show yellow, orange and burgundy-red at higher elevations. Dogwoods and sourwoods are beginning to display crimson red leaves at Craggy Gardens, just north of Asheville. Look for the orange and red of Virginia creeper along tree trunks. This is the perfect time of year to hiking, while it’s still warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt during the day, yet cool enough to spur more fall color each night.

Spectacular foliage is without a doubt on its way, as the first species begin to transform all over the region. While we’re waiting for fall color to hit full swing, wildflowers continue to bloom in meadows and forests in the mountains. Black-eyed Susans, coreopsis, goldenrods, woodland sunflowers and ox-eye daisies offer different shades of yellow, complimented by varying purples hues from New York ironweed, purple-headed coneflowers and Joe-pie weed flowers.

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