Sunday, November 20, 2016

The beginning of the end of fall

Only a week after the black oaks in the neighborhood were at there most brilliant, they are fading to brown.  Oaks like these are "tardily deciduous," meaning the dead leaves hang--sometimes all winter--before falling as late as spring budbreak.  Red oak leaves are brown and dead, white oaks are mostly bare.  The first sugar maples helped kick off the color fest weeks ago, but they're individualists, and one or two still have a few yellow leaves.  Red maples paralleled the sugar, and are losing their last leaves.  River birches are sparse and yellow.  Among native trees, basswood is still yellowing, while green leaves still cling to some paper birches.  

Some lesser folk such as nightshade remain green to the bitter end.  Multiflora rose, too, is green as long as there is any light and warmth at all left in the year. 

Witchhazel is alone among the woody plants of my acquaintance in being in flower right now, though the flowers are looking a bit the worse for wear.  The seeds are forcefully ejected from the pods not at the end of flowering, but the following fall, just as the flower buds are about to open.  The witchhazel on the corner had a good fall last year, and sent many children of into the world in the second half of October, as this year's flower buds swelled and burst.  

Mostly oaks along my street.  11/5/16

Black oaks (Quercus velutina) on 11/11.

Last and brighest of the neighborhood black oaks.  11/13

November 19th: black oak scarlet fades to brown.

 Basswood, aka linden (Tilia americana), has lost few leaves, and many are still partly green. 11/19

Nightshade hangs on.  11/19

The first witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) fruits burst around October 14th.

By 10/29 leaves are gone, most flowers were open and most pods were empty.

November 19th flowers are fading.

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