Late Summer Fruits and Berries

American mountain ash at 4000 feet
Photo credit: Whitney McCann


Before fall one can find plenty of primary color in the berrying plants and shrubs of the hardwood forest and alpine zone.  Pictured here are fruits and berries found on Wildcat Mountain's namesake trail during the 80th anniversary hike.  The deciduous American Mountain Ash, Sorbus americana, is a shrub or small tree easily identified by its bright, showy clusters of red fruit.  The fisher, marten, and grouse all snack on this fruit, which will hang onto twigs through early winter.  Underfoot there are more red clusters with the Bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dominating much of the understory.  Its berries taste faintly of apple and are snatched up migratory birds on their way.  For humans?  Try the squishy tic-tac-tasting Creeping snowberry, Gaultheria hispidula, whose evergreen leaves look like embroidery on the moss.

Red Bunchberry at 3000 feet
Photo credit: Whitney McCann
White Creeping snowberry at 3000 feet
Photo credit: Whitney McCann