Found on the Greenway: Late Summer Walk along the Prairie Loop
by Chris Bolling
Nothing says late summer like the sound of Cicadas calling in the trees. These annual cicadas sometimes referred to as Dog Day Cicadas (Neotibicen sp) and I cannot think of a more apt name. At the start of this walk in the parking lot of the Adventure Center, one of the adults was kind enough to pose close to the ground. Normally you only see them in the trees or occasionally when they fly erratically low to the ground. The nymphs spend from 2 to 3 years underground feeding on the roots of plants. Each year a large number of these nymphs emerge and change into the adult form which adds their familiar sound to hot summer days.
Another late summer sight is ripening persimmons (Diospyros virginiana). These trees have either entirely female flowers or entirely male flowers on a single plant. If a tree with female flowers is in a nice sunny site and there are male trees nearby, the tree will produce large amounts of fruit. The fruit is a favorite food of many mammals and birds so the fruit does not stay on the tree for long.
The Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) has almost finished flowering but still stands out with its seed pods. The pods are mostly green and still growing this time of the year. After the seeds ripen, the pod will dry out and turn brown. Eventually the pod will split lengthwise and release the seeds.
The summer heat is still with us but will soon be gone. Come visit the woods ands fields on the Greenway to enjoy every change in all the seasons.