It was a cool and cloudy day at the Arboretum. I found an interesting Echinops ritro (Globe Thistle) seed head in the bed by the Scherer Pavillion and a beautiful Euonymus fortunei cv. Variegatus (Wintercreeper Euonymus) climbing up a tree across from the Waterwise Deck; an opened fruit, nestled among the crisp green and white leaves.
A young Beech (Fagus spp) sits under larger trees next to the bus parking area, while stubbornly holding on to its browned leaves. This is a phenomenon known as marcescence, and can be seen in other trees as well, such as Oaks and Hornbeams. The thinking is that retaining leaves until spring could be a means of slowing the decomposition of the leaves (they would rot faster if on the ground) and that dropping them in spring delivers organic material at a time when it is most needed by the growing tree. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful?
Picture credits: Margery Ennist.