Pennsylvania Wildflowers in Fall

Go play outside! The beauty that surrounds us in the fall is so magnificent.  As you take time on your commute to and from work or school, or in your explorations of the woods, notice the palette of colors evident in the fall flowers.  This time of year is decorated with the oranges and golds of changing leaves—and dotted with blues and purples of wildflowers. Become a wildflower expert and impress your friends with these fall findings!

Have you seen New England Aster? Its pale purple hue and thin, delicate leaves make identifying this purple flower easy.  The blooms are typically 1.5 inches in diameter. Aster blooms can be enjoyed from August­ to September. 

Have you seen Black-eyed Susan? This golden-yellow petaled, black-eyed flower is identified by its color combined with its height.  The Black-eyed Susan can range between one to three feet in height and is often confused with its taller neighbor, the Tall Coreopsis, which can grow as high as eight feet in length. Black-eyed Susan has furry leaves and a furry stem as well as ten-petaled blooms. The Thin Leaved Coneflower is another Black-eyed Susan look-alike but is differentiated by its wider petals and 9-part blooms. Enjoy Black-eyed Susan from June to October. 

Have you seen Showy goldenrod? Elongated clusters and a golden hue characterize this flower.  This type of goldenrod grows between two and seven feet in height.  Blooms grow to about a quarter inch in length.  Goldenrod is often mistaken for the common allergen ragweed because they share similar visual appearance and habitat. However, goldenrod is pollinated by insects such as bees and does not release pollen into the air.

The bold color of these wildflowers accents fall foliage. But what are they saying? In Victorian times, flowers were often used as symbols to communicate a message.  Though currently the gesture of giving flowers is often one of sentiment, we can explore the historic meanings of flowers thanks to the Society of American Florists.

Aster, as a light purple, smaller-bloomed flower, communicates contentment. 

Black-eyed Susan in a bouquet says encouragement. 

Goldenrod’s Latin name Salidago comes from the Latin word solidare, meaning to strengthen or make whole. Goldenrod can communicate good fortune, encouragement, success, caution and support. 

When you are out taking a walk in the woods notice the seasonal blooms—and for fun think about the messages these flowers have delivered!

Happy exploring!