Monday, October 31, 2011

Oaks and Maples

When I was a child we would collect fall leaves and press them between wax paper to preserve the colors.   We collected mostly Oak and Maple leaves because those were the trees that were planted along the road side and easy to pickup from the sidewalk while walking home from school.

At the Folk School we collected several types of Oak and Maple leaves: White Oak, Scarlet Oak, Sawtoothed Oak, Post Oak, Chestnut Oak, Red Maple, Silver Maple, and Striped Maple leaves.  We found several leaves that were still green or just beginning the transition.  The color change can be triggered by length of daylight or a temperature change.  We had a cold snap the night we arrived, and each day after that more an more leaves started turning colors.

White Oaks leaves turn pale yellow, and the large acorns drop from the trees leaving behind their caps.  The leaves have seven to ten rounded lobes with shallow to deep sinuses between.  Before turning, they are green to blue-green above and whitish below.  The oblong acorns have a warty cap that only covers 1/4 of the acorn.

Sawtoothed Oaks have a three to seven inch long leaf that is lanceolate shaped, with a bristle-tipped tooth at the end of each vein.  They were all still a dark shiny green.  The acorns are oval and the very scaly cap covers 1/2 the bicolored acorn.

Scarlet Oak's leaves turn from green to yellow-orange to a beautiful dark red.  The five lobed leaves have deep sinuses and bristle tips.  Before turning, they are green above and paler green below.  The tip of the acorns may have concentric rings.  The shiny scaled cap covers 1/2 of the acorn.

Post Oaks leaves turn a rustic orange brown.  The leaves are six to ten inces long with five rounded lobes.  The middle loves are distinctly square.  Before turning, the thick green leaves are paler and pubescent below.  The oval acorns have bowl-shaped scaly caps that cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the acorn.

Chestnut Oak leaves resemble a four to six inch long Chestnut tree leaf.  They are shiny green above and paler below.  The acorns are oval and as they mature separate from the thin warty cap.

Red Maple leaves turn a brillent red.  The leaves on the end of the branches turn first, and the color change spreds down the branch like a slow moving fire.  The leaves are palmate and have three to five lobes with serrated margins.  The trees are not named for their fall leaf color, but for the red color of the twigs, petioles and clusters of long samaras (another word of the day).

Silver Maples are more of a soft yellow-orange in color.  The leaves are palmate with coarse serrate margins.  There are five deeply sinused lobes.   The underside of the leaf is pale silvery white.  The long petioles allow even a light breeze to flash the leaves silver undersides.   

Striped Maples leaves turn a pale yellow.  The leaves have three lobes with serrated margins and long drip tips that cause the leaf to resemble a goose foot.

No comments:

Post a Comment