Watching the changing colours of leaves in autumn is known as Momijigari in Japan. This year in the UK we’ve had a wonderful extended autumnal colour display, stretching in to winter.
In the last few weeks, the field maples have turned bright yellow, beech and wild cherry a wonderful burnished copper and oaks a deep russet brown, the colour change accelerated by the recent cold snap.
It’s also been a rare ‘mast’ year, following last year’s wet summer, with a superabundance of fruits and seeds, which I’ve particularly noted on beech, oak and ash. I took these photographs in September when the leaves were still green.
Leaf colour change is prompted by the decline in light levels and temperature. Chlorophyll in the leaves gives them their green pigment, and harnesses the energy from sunlight to convert nutrients and minerals into starches and sugar to enable growth. With the declining light and temperature in autumn, most trees cease or significantly slow down growth. The remaining chlorophyll in the leaf is no longer required and starts to decompose, meaning the other pigments, carotenoids anthocyanins and tannins also present in leaves, show as the golds, yellows and reds of autumn. (Summarised from Forestry Commission info)
I love all seasons, but the colours and bounty of this autumn has been truly wonderful.