Discover Nature: Autumn in Missouri Woods
This week on Discover Nature, get outside and enjoy a show of fall foliage, fruits, fungi, and flowers.
Fall color in Missouri’s trees has been off to a slow start, with much green remaining on the landscape. But, with cooler temperatures and waning daylight hours, chlorophyll – the compound that makes leaves green – is breaking down, revealing pigments that have been hidden all summer.
In central Missouri, mulberries, maples, elms, and sycamores are taking on vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Many persimmons have already lost their leaves, revealing abundant, orange fruits hanging on bare twigs.
In northeast Missouri, cold winds have caused more leaves to fall, but dogwoods, sumacs, and tree vines still display brilliant reds, while cottonwoods, walnuts, hickories, mulberries, catalpas, and buckeyes are steadily yellowing.
Among the mosaic of colors, keep an eye out for late-season wildflowers, such as asters and goldenrod, bright green mosses and lichens, and a fall forage of fruits, nuts, and mushrooms like puff balls and chicken-of-the-woods.
Exercise caution when spending time in nature this fall, as colder weather moves in and hunters share more of our natural areas. But don’t miss out on one of the most beautiful seasons for a nature hike or fall float trip in Missouri.
Find weekly regional updates on fall color including hotspots where you can find great opportunities to get out and take in the seasonal splendor with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Fall Color Reports online, and learn more about different species of trees, mushrooms, and flowers you’ll find in the fall with the MDC online field guide.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.