As summer turns into fall we look to the trees, the leaves, the fruit, the nuts, all full and ready to fall.
One of the most abundant of the nut trees here in Ohio is the hickory. There are three types of hickory here in Ohio, the butternut, the shagbark, and the shellbark.
"The number of leaflets on a Hickory leaf and their size are a good identifier. Bitternut are the smallest leaf (about one foot but usually with 7 leaflets) and Shellbark are the largest (one to two feet, also usually with 7 leaflets). Shagbark Hickory leaves tend to have 5 leaflets and the size ranges from one foot to 15 inches." -odnr
We'll be focusing on the shagbark hickory.
(note, the tree pictured does have 7 leaflets but its fruits and bark verify it is in fact a shagbark)
As the fruits ripen from late summer through early fall, their outer shell turns from bright green to dark brown, the shell will crack open and fall to the ground.
Once fully ripened and upon the ground, they will easily come apart from their outer shell for easy collecting.
After collecting, get a handy dandy set of nut crackers and pick, put on a movie, and open and pick out all the 'meat' from the shell.
Fun facts about the hickory...
Harvesting season is upon us, see you in the woods!
As we begin our journey into September we see the summer colors fading from the meadows and a new palate of yellows and greens welcome the beginning of autumn.
Here are some common (and a few uncommon) ones you may find in your travels.
Tansy - It is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons. "In England, bunches of tansy were traditionally placed at windows to keep out flies. Sprigs were placed in bedding and linen to drive away pests. Tansy has been widely used in gardens and homes in Melbourne, Australia to keep away ants. Some traditional dyers use tansy to produce a golden-yellow colour. The yellow flowers are dried for use in floral arrangements. Tansy is also used as a companion plant, especially with cucurbits like cucumbers and squash, or with roses or various berries. It is thought to repel ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and some kinds of flying insects, among others. Dried tansy is used by some bee-keepers as fuel in a bee smoker."
Goldenrod - due to it's bloom time and location, many have thought it to be a main source of hay fever and seasonal allergies. However, it is the ragweed that blooms at the same time in the same locations that is the culprit. Surprisingly enough goldenrod is not only fine for allergy sufferers but it also offers a wide variety of beneficial remedies for everything from bladder infections to gout! "Throughout its history, goldenrod has been used to treat a variety of other medical problems. These include hemorrhoids , diabetes, tuberculosis , liver enlargement, gout , internal bleeding, diarrhea, asthma , rheumatism, enlarged prostate, infections of the mouth and throat, and external wounds." Goldenrod has shown little to no side affects when used for these purposes. To make a simple tea... "Goldenrod tea can be prepared by steeping 3–5 g (1 or 2 teaspoonfuls) of the herb in 150 ml of simmering water. The mixture should be strained after about 15 minutes. Dosage is two to four cups of tea a day, taken between meals. The liquid extract preparation is usually taken two to three times a day in doses of 0.5–2.0 ml. Dosage for the tincture is 0.5–1.0 ml two to three times a day." Use caution if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, for children, or if you have kidney disease. Who knew this plant with such a bad reputation was such a good healer!
Brown Eyed Susans (of the black eyed susan family) -Black eyed susans are pioneer plants, one of the first plants to grow after a fire or other natural disaster. -In the language of flowers, black eyed susans represent encouragement. They would be the perfect gift to send to a friend who is going through some tough times.
Prairie Coneflower Native peoples utilized a decoction of leaves and stems to treat pain, poison ivy rash, and rattlesnake bites. An infusion was made from plant tops to treat headache, stomachache, cough, fever, epileptic fits, and to induce vomiting. A medicinal or beverage-type tea was made from the ripened flower heads and leaves. An orange-yellow dye was produced from boiled flowers.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.