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Observations by Gary Fewless for Green Bay WI (Lat.N 44.51° Long. W 88.02° ), except as noted. For flowers lacking conspicuous petals or sepals I define "anthesis" as release of pollen by mature anthers.

October 2014 Fall leaves

Oct 28
This shrub is another invasive species called Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). It has bright red fruits and leaves and the stems have stiff, sharp thorns. Today these plants are impossible to miss in the woods of Brown County. More photos.
Oct 26
Another tree that really stands out at this time of year in northeastern Wisconsin is our tamarack (Larix laricina). Each year in October the needles turn a rich yellow color and then they all fall off in late October or in early November. In spring the new needles are an equally conspicuous light green color. None of my photos ever really capture the brilliant colors of this species.
Oct 25
The photo is from a mixed deciduous/conifer forest type that is very common in northeastern Wisconsin. The young conifers, balsam fir (Abies balsamea) in this case, add color and diversity to the forest as the deciduous leaves fall. Balsam fir seems to be doing very well in this area, perhaps in part because the deer seem not to like it as a winter food.
Oct 24
The tree in the photo is northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis), also called Hill's oak on ocassion. The leaves tend to turn reddish to medium brown in autumn and to remain on the branches far into the winter. This is a very common tree in northeastern Wisconsin on very dry sites or where fire is recurring.
Oct 22
Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is another serious invasive tree in our area and as for European buckthorn (see Oct 18) it keeps green leaves deep into the autumn. The leaves are very shiny and can be easily identified in this season.
Oct 20
These fruits are of highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum). They are very prominent at this season and the birds seem not to prefer them in autumn, so they sometimes persist through the winter.
Oct 18
As most trees lose their leaves, a few species really stand out. The photo at left shows the dark green leaves of European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), an invasive species which comprises the entire understory in this forest. As the larger trees eventually die off, this forest will be heavily dominated by buckthorn, and all the native species will be displaced.
Oct 16
The photos are a sampling of local fall color for the Green Bay area. At left is a mix of colors from Baird Creek Park, everything from leaves still green to leaves totally fallen.
The bright yellow color is quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) and northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) are labeled for contrast.
The bright red is staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). It iappears very different depending on the local conditions--some other plants nearby have already lost their leaves for the year.
A view including part of UW-Green Bay campus (on left where the road curves abruptly) and nearby area, with the bay behind it. The tall smokestack at the far distant left is the Pulliam electrical power generation station at the mouth of the Fox River.
Oct 15
  Green Bay has received a total of 1.48 inches of rain over the last 4 days, and skies have been generally cloudy over this period.
Oct 13
  Green Bay received 1.01 inches of rain today.
Oct 12
  Green Bay's low temperature was 37° F. Laona had 28° again.
Local leaf color on UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum.
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is now dispersing seeds.
Oct 11
  The morning low temperature was 33° F. This is the third consecutive day of frost in my neighborhood, though none have been particularly hard and the covered tomatoes in the garden survived nicely. Laona had 28°.
The butterfly at left is a "Comma". It is one of a small number of our butterflies that overwinter here as adults. They can be seen late in the fall or early in spring if it is warm, and sometimes even in winter during warmer periods. The underside of wings, exposed when wings are held up, provides camouflage on bark or dried leaves. The upperside of the wing is brightly colored, presumably for purposes of finding mates.
Oct 10
  Green Bay's low temperature was 31° F, the first freezing temperature of the fall and the first temperature of 32° or below since April 23 (when it was 29°). That is 198 days = 28 weeks and 2 days, or about 6-1/2 months. Laona, 100 miles NNW had 29°.
There is still good leaf color in northeastern Wisconsin, though there is wide variation from one location to another. These photos are from northern Oconto County.
Oct 9
  Green Bay reports a morning low temperature of 33° F, the coldest of the season to date. It was the first frost in my neighborhood, but only briefly. In the more northern counties of Forest and Florence and (northern) Marinette some areas had frost back to Sep 22 or even to Sep 12 in lower areas.
Oct 8
There are still some healthy Monarch butterflies in the Green Bay area, as here today on New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) along the East River, shown below..
East River Trail.
There are also numerous "wooly bear" caterpillars in our area now. They tend to be conspicuous at this time of year , so people have invented stories of how their color patterns are predictors of the coming winter.
Oct 2
In addition to the many leaf colors of the trees in northeastern Wisconsin, there are some interesting fruits. The photo is of the fruits of our common winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata). They are mostly limited to wet and mostly sunny sites and the bright red fruits can be very conspicuous when they are abundant.
Oct 1

Fall leaf color of our local trees is, of course, dependent on the particular species involved. Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are a favorite and often have bright orange colors, aspen (Populus) and birch (Betula) are typically yellow, and a few species are bright red, among them red maple (Acer rubrum) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). They also vary in season with red maple and sumacs often very early, and many of these are done for the year now in the north. Black ash (Fraxinus nigra) is even earlier in its transition and it has mostly dropped its leaves already. Sugar maple is intermediate and you can find some bright orange patches while some areas remain mostly green. Oaks are quite late and are mostly still green. The photo may illustrate part of the pattern. The bright orange is sugar maple, there are some oaks with green leaves and in the foreground are speckled alder (Alnus incana) which are also still green. Between those upper and lower zones you can see some black ash that are already bare. The change of color begins in the north and works southward as the season progresses. The best bet is to allow time to drive around a little to find some variety or to find your favorite species.

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Last updated on May 20, 2015