Yesterday I came across a nice amount of bittersweet plants, out along the forest edge. The orange and red berries on twisting vines make for a pretty seasonal decoration. It was only after I cut a few vines and got them back to the cabin that I realized my find was the non-native and invasive oriental bittersweet plant, not the rarer American bittersweet.
The most noticeable difference between the two plants is how the berries are located on the plant. As you can see in my picture of the oriental bittersweet, the berries are located all along the stems. In the American bittersweet, the berries are only at the end of each stem. The leaf shapes are also a bit different, but since the leaves are off by November, that isn't much help. The berries of this plant are still pretty, and I've placed a few stems on the outside of the cabin.
More leaves came off the trees last evening, so that this morning the forest looks like winter. Last evening was unusually warm. It felt moist ahead of the rain I'm getting this morning. I stood outside, long after dark, enjoying the feel of the warmth. Leaves dropped around me like the raindrops that would soon fall. There was no breeze to bring them down. It was simply time, and they fell. It sounded a bit like sprinkles of rain.
This morning, the rain is a cold one, and the leaves are ankle deep around me. Winter is not yet here, but it's getting close.