Have you seen it? That little bit of scarlet in the trees along the side of the road. Me thinks fall is here because the red maples' leaves are, well, turning red.
We are blessed with the plentiful Red Maple (Acer rubrum) out here in the piney woods of east Texas. The tree can attain a height of 100 feet and a diameter of 3 feet. I love that each leaf is colored red, green and yellow.
Another colorful plant that gives tree bark a beautiful red necklace is Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Folks often mistake this wonderful vine for poison ivy. Poison ivy has 3 leaves; Virginia Creeper 5. Remember "leaves of three, let it be; leaves of 5, let it thrive."
And my favorite tree for fall color is the Sassafras (Sassafras albidum). This tree is unusual in that it has three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant, unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten-shaped), and trilobed (three-pronged). The roots of this tree are used to brew a sweet spicy tea. The leaves are used in thickening soups. The orange wood has been used for cooperage, buckets, posts, and furniture and the oil is used to perfume some soaps.
And then there is the Farkleberry, Sparkleberry and Huckleberry which is a shrub with three names.
| Farkleberry, Sparkleberry, Huckleberry |
There are many other trees out here that provide a riot of color during the fall. I can't leave out the Dogwood, Sweetgum, Slippery/Winged Elm, Hickory and Walnut.
But, whether it is our wonderful Red Maple, the Virginia Creeper or Sassafras, the fall colors of these are not to be missed.
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Emily Jane Brontë