While we wait for more dramatic fall foliage, an unhurried walk along the Creek this week showcased the colorful fruit of a number of native trees, at the same time providing a reliable identification aid that is not available during the summer months.
In Cox Lane Park, signature yellow berries cover the Soapberry Tree, with its distinctive coarse bark in plain view against the blue sky.
The red berries of the Flame Sumac will remain after most leaves have fallen, and in the tri-lobed pods of the Mexican Buckeye, one can see the glossy black seeds, round enough that rural children of the last century used them as serviceable marbles, according to the authors of Texas Trees, A Friendly Guide. As if endorsing that notion, our aging cat playfully pounced on one , batting it from the kitchen table and chasing it around on the floor.
In the spring and summer, the pink flowers of the buckeye can be confused with the Mexican Plum or possibly the more common redbud.
On the ground near the creek, the large seed balls of the Osage Orange wait for any takers. Few animals seem to want them.
If one does not find enough color on the ground, look up – as a long time neighbor observed, Texas sunsets can be spectacular. This Halloween sunset over Joe’s Creek seemed a fitting backdrop for the young.
Vince Punaro, Creek Leader