Friday, December 05, 2014

two hectic spots burned on his pallid cheeks

Acer platanifolium - red on autumn leaves

I can't expect many people to be interested in this, but it interested me. These are fallen leaves from Norway Maple (Acer platanifolium). Usually the autumn colours are golden yellow, but occasionally you find a leaf or three with dramatic bright-red splodges, usually towards the edge of the leaf.

If you know what causes this, please get in touch!

Acer platanifolium - autumn leaf with red colour



At 8:09 pm, Blogger Vincent said...

It’s only a surmise, but could it be that such leaves have been stricken by a pestilence?

I shall call as my only witness Percy Bysshe Shelley, who seemed to know:

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes:

At 11:28 am, Blogger Michael Peverett said...

I reckon you looked into my subconscious! My post title must have been partly an unconscious recollection of Shelley.

Yes, very possibly the leaves were pestilence-stricken before they left the tree. They didn't look attacked in any other way though (i.e. blistered or galled). They were smaller-than-average leaves. Alternatively they might have encountered a particular fungus on the ground. Or they could be breaking down a particular chemical such as a hormone.

I'll have to keep an eye out next autumn.


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