‘Autumn colours’: Part five

This short post is part of a series focusing on autumn colours.

Featured in the photo accompanying this post are the turning leaves of a beech hedge. No series on ‘Autumn colours’ would be complete without considering the changes in the foliage of deciduous trees. The change in colour itself reflects the plant drawing nutrients out of the leaves before they are shed.

The copper colour of crisp autumnal beech leaves can be particularly striking in hedge-planted trees and in other younger plants. This is because such trees, unlike free-growing mature ones, have a tendency to retain their leaves through the autumn and winter. This explains the popularity of beech as a hedge tree. It was selected, for instance, as the plant for the hedging around the visitor centre and car park.

Note, also, on the photo, the long, thin buds. In trees that have shed their leaves, these are a good way of identifying the species as being beech.