Flurry of Fall Foliage in Floyd

Whie Wood Aster--Smartview Blue Ridge ParkwayOkay. I’m done with the letter F for now. Let’s start over with the letter A.

A is for aster. Aster used to be the genus for these, er, asters that now are apparently in the genus Eurybia. So much for my nomenclature knowledge anymore. I’m a taxonomic has-been.

Since the advent of DNA sleuthing, genera are being pulled apart all across the (formerly known) animal kingdom. The whole notion of species seems in a state of flux.

And it doesn’t seem to have disturbed this trail wildflowers one little bit, thogh I see some of the individual flowers are blurred by the breeze that day. [click to enlarge]

OTOH, the setting where these are growing is far from undisturbed–at least by the maintenance crews that used to keep Blue Ridge Parkway clearings from becoming monoculture displays of invasives.

Come, the Sequester. Come oriental bittersweet; tree of heaven; and at Smartview Campground, acres and acres of solid wingstem, far as the eye can see.

I was happy to discover that bees do visit wingstem, and don’t know if the small numbers of them reflects their taste for this plant’s offerings or their declining numbers due to honeybee disease and stress.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Beautiful wildflowers.
    If you recognize the flowers I sent you the link to, which I couldn’t name, please tell me. Common names will be fine!

  2. Your shot of Eurybia divaricata Woodland Aster reminds me I should head out to take my own picture while it’s blooming here in PA. And I feel your pain on the invasive monocultures. So much work to keep them at bay! Thanks for the pingback, BTW.

  3. I’ve grown to like Fall flowers more than Spring. More graceful, less flamboyant, dreamier, cool, kinder, gentler. I didn’t even notice the abundance of Fall wildflowers in the Appalachians until I lived in the Great Smokies. Just green and warm year round here in Florida now, kind of boring but no shivers in the morning.