Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mapleleaf Viburnum

The day started rainy. By late morning though the clouds parted and it suddenly felt like a warm spring day.  Kodi and I set out on a walk when the vegetation was still drippy.

We walked on a section of trail owned by The Nature Conservancy that leads down to the Great Bay estuary in Newmarket. Part of the trail passes up and over a small knoll with large shagbark hickory and red oak trees. The understory was mostly open, now that many leaves have dropped. One shrub stood out with its pinkish fall foliage and contrasting dark purple-black fruits -- mapleleaf viburnum.

As its name suggests, the pairs of opposite leaves look a lot like a (red) maple leaf. 

One does not always notice shrubs in the fall, especially those growing in the shade of a hardwood forest. The mapleleaf viburnum -- also called flowering maple, dockmackie, and Viburnum acerifolium -- is one that is hard to miss in its autumn shades of salmon to pinkish-purple.

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