Fall for trees

Harvard Yard thinks it’s October. The Red, Sugar and Norway maples, the Scarlet and Pin oaks, the dogwoods and hawthorns, have all been at peak Fall color around Boston the last few days. The weather has been glorious too, hovering around 70° in the afternoons. Lots of people walking around in shorts, the sidewalk cafés packed with customers eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. If it weren’t for the freak snowstorm and a mild frost a couple weeks back, the predominant foliage might still be green. It’s been a warm Fall.

After attending a great talk by John Wilbanks at lunch yesterday (and my latest $25 ticket for going several minutes over the 2 hour limit on my parking meter), I moved the car, poured another $2 into another meter, and walked around Cambridge, just enjoying the warmth and the scenery. I took a bunch of pictures with my phone as well, which joined this batch here, which includes shots taken with a real camera, plus some with a scanner.

My interests in Science as a kid were organized as a series of obsessions. Their order went something like this:

  1. Trees
  2. Oceans and sea life
  3. Weather
  4. Astronomy
  5. Paleontology
  6. Radio

The first four were primarily informed by Golden Guide books my parents bought for my sister and me. The titles were Trees, Fishes, Weather and Stars. Amazingly, I still have Trees, “@1956, 1952, by Western Publishing Company, Inc.” (That last link goes to the current version, on Amazon.) I turned nine years old in the Summer of 1956. I remember being so obsessed with trees that I would spend hours at the end of our street, identifying the sycamores, elms, beeches, hickories, oaks and maples of Borg’s Woods, then still decades away from becoming Hackensack‘s pride of a nature preserve. Thanks to fellow obsessives and the Web, anyone in the world can see those trees too.

My old Trees book was helpful in identifying some of the leaves in those shots I’ve taken the last few days. So has Ryan Lynch’s Crimson Canopy, with it’s excellent Harvard Yard Trees. I only discovered the site late yesterday after I got home. If I had the time, I’d walk around again with the iPad and Ryan’s maps to check again on which trees were which.

Perhaps readers inclinded to horticulture, plant taxonomy and dendrology can help puzzle out and correct identification of leaves such as this one here, which on Map 6 of Crimson Canopy is identified as a Red maple, but looks to me more like a Silver maple. (There’s a lot of variation among the Reds, though, I’ve noticed.) I should point out that it’s a big leaf.

So today it’s supposed to rain, and I’m busy, so that’ll be it for this year’s walks among Fall colors. Tomorrow starts several weeks of travel.

Bonus links:

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2 Responses to Fall for trees

  1. Chip says:

    Thanks for the memories – had the same books, likely they are now in the hands of my daughter(s) – will check

    Another set – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holling_C._Holling, got fresh copies for when grandkids visit


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