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, while dogwoods show off a muted purple.
In northeast Missouri, colder temperatures have hastened the color-change process. Tender-leafed species such as soft maples, ashes, elms, and walnuts are quickly fading. But the heavier leaves of oaks and hickories will hold their color a little longer, while shrubby sumac species display bright cherry and deep crimson reds in fields and along roadsides.
Watch for late season flowers blooming now, too, such as asters and goldenrod.
Among the mosaic of colors, keep an eye out for a fall forage of persimmons 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.