Albert Camus once said, “Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” But leaves aren’t the only plants providing color to the fall. Many flowers themselves also bloom during this cool season. On your next hike, look around and you may see these native flowers sprinkled across the landscape:
Jewelweed or Spotted Touch-Me-Not Impatiens capensis
Both common names of this plant come from the interesting traits of its leaves and seeds. When you put the translucent leaves of the plant under water, they appear jeweled — hence the name jewelweed. The name “spotted touch-me-not” comes from the tendency for the seeds to “explode.” When you touch a seed pod of this plant, the pod pops open! See a video of it here on YouTube: click here
These beautiful plants are an important source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other insects. The sweet goldenrod, pictured here, is actually a member of the sunflower family. This species of goldenrod has been used medicinally by the Cherokee.
The name “Aster” comes from a Greek word meaning “star.” It was named as such because of the flowers’ distinct star shape. Many species are sources of food for various moth and butterfly species. Look for the familiar little white flower of the Bushy Aster, pictured left, while on walks in New Jersey.
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis
If you’re lucky, you might spot this ruby red bloom. This plant can grow up to four feet tall. If you’re wandering around a streambank or swamp, keep an eye out because this flower prefers wet habitats.