Tag Archives: marcescence

marcescence

do you know this  word?  the definition is: the withering of, but not falling off, as in part of a plant

I discovered this word because I wanted to know why the oak trees that line my street don’t imageshed their leaves in autumn.  Their dry, brown leaves cling desperately throughout the winter wind and rain and then drop just before new buds appear in late spring.  Apparently this is what happens with oak and beech trees.  I found this out by “Googling” my question and read a lovely answer by Michael Snyder at Northernwoodlands.org.  Botanists don’t really know why some trees do this.  Evergreens appear green all year but actually replace all their needles.  Most deciduous trees drop all their leaves in autumn.  But not these two particular species.  No one knows why but the two suppositions are:
1) they drop their leaves in spring to provide their own compost at a time most useful to have extra nutrients
2) the dried leaves provide protection for new buds against nibbling deer and moose and the effects of winter snow and weather

I kind of like thinking about this – wondering about my own efforts at marcescence……..

Evergreen? Maple? Alder? Oak? Beech?  what do I hold on to for months at a time, what do I let go of all at once, what changes are so subtle I don’t even know they are happening?

How about for you?

(it’s day one of the Slice of Life month long writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers – check it out!)