Tree Colours Fantasy verses Fact

red leaves

A little fantasy…

Autumn colours have been celebrated in literature, legend, songs and works of art since ancient times. Legends include the mythical Jack Frost who supposedly brings reds and purples to the forest by pinching the leaves with his icy fingers. The hues of yellow, gold and brown are mixed on his paint palette and applied with quick broad strokes of his brush as he silently moves among the trees to decorate them. According to an Indian legend, celestial hunters kill a great bear in the autumn sky and its blood dripping on the forest change many leaves to red. Other trees are turned yellow by the fat that splatters out of the kettle as the hunters cook the meat.

A little fact…

Only a few places in the world have the combination of tree species and climatic conditions necessary for vivid fall foliage. It is our deciduous forests and trees with their many broad leaves, which change colour almost in unison, that display the most noticeable fall colour. Evergreen species also develop fall colouration, but the colour changes are slow and gradual. Many homeowners become unnecessarily alarmed in the autumn when the interior needles of their pines, spruces and firs turn colour. They mistakenly interpret this as a disease problem, not realizing that even evergreens seasonally shed older leaves. The eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada have weather conditions and deciduous trees favourable for brilliant fall colour…Of course, the introduction of exotic species to urban landscapes in areas where the trees are adapted, as well as the development of cultivars noted for their fall colour have increased the opportunities to see one of nature’s greatest treats.