In late November, most leaves have fallen to the ground, turned brown and tucked Earth’s northern regions in for the long winter. But the bareness reveals new beauty in the form of a harvest of berries. Many colorful berries decorate trees, shrubs and vines, both here in St. Paul and in the woods surrounding our cabin in east central Minnesota. They also provide food for many birds and small mammals. Here is a sample of this generous harvest:
Six species of dogwood are native to Minnesota. Among the most colorful are gray dogwood and swamp dogwood, also known as silky or blue dogwood.
American woodbine’s scarlet leaves have fallen to reveal deep-blue berries on fire-red stalks or pedicels. Woodbine is a close relative of Virginia creeper, but prefers sunnier locations and lacks adhesive cups at the end of its tendrils.
Many species of rose, both native and cultivated, produce beautiful fruit known as “hips”. Rose hips are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients.
The feathery white plumes of starry false Solomon’s seal have grown into plump berries that gradually changed from bright green to beige mottled with coppery red, and now are bright, translucent red.