Marcescence

Nature photography / Blue Ridge Mountains / Virginia
I’ve posted before–several times, perhaps–about the leaves that persist on the trees into winter. Marcescence, we discovered this clinging to the twig is called.

Here are some more marcescent beech leaves taken last week–not exactly the image I was hoping for. The wind picked up and the sun disappeared from the time I left the house til I reached the logging road where I’d noticed a nice cluster of fading leaves begging to get their picture taken.

If I do the color-image book and include this passage, I’ll need several shots to chose from. We’ll toss this one into the mix, and hope to better it. But I’d best get the right shot soon, because it won’t last forever:

“… This year’s beech leaf may stay on the twig until next spring’s tiny new leaf evicts it, finally, pushing it out and away, off into space, down to the black soil among the first of the spring mustards and violets.”

2 thoughts on “Marcescence”

  1. those look like leaf-shaped Ruffles potato chips….and i haven’t had breakfast yet and am hungry. 🙂

  2. Dear Fred,

    what a beautiful, elegant word — I saw some clinging leaves this morning, with a cherry tree a few feet away already breaking into blossom

    is there a word for those leaf remnants who’ve dissolved partway to leave only the leafy skeletons?

    thank you,
    and happy new year!
    Christy Lee-Engel

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