December may not be the optimal time to identify wild plant and mushroom species in the Eastern United States. Leaves have fallen, seeds have blown, and all but the hardiest of mushrooms have come and gone.
Still, nature is never one to disappoint. I mean, it’s not as if the lush landscapes of spring, summer, and autumn have turned to dust for the winter… a total void with miles and miles of complete darkness. No, no, no.
On the contrary!
Plenty of species remain in tact. And as it turns out, quite a few species actually seem to enjoy the brisker temperatures. I’m thinking of American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and its flowering time; of enoki (Flammulina velutipes), which isn’t called the “winter mushroom” for nothing; and several species of wild roses (Rosa spp.), whose fruits beam red among snow-covered fields.
Personally, I enjoy walking the woods and forests this time of year. There’s always something to see, always something to learn, and always something to share with all of you.
Which reminds me… I’ve got a new video I’d love to share with you!
In it, I invite you to join me for a walk through McConnells Mill State Park — a beautiful area of Pennsylvania located 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. As we explore the trail along Slippery Rock Creek, I discuss a few of the wild plant and mushroom species that can be found in mid-December.
Shall we walk? Let’s go!