Autumnal temperatures are a bit fabulous aren’t they? Despite the rain this week, more than not, customers have been reveling in the moderate temperatures, thankful for the relief from the extended humidity.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year. Generally speaking there is less rainfall, temperatures are moderate, but it is not without sharp spikes in temperature in either direction….trust me, I got married on a 38 degree day late in March a few years ago. And as if that wasn’t enough, the trees begin to turn golden, amber, rust and chocolate tones.
Plants may be deciduous, semi deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous trees, plants and shrubs, lose their leaves at maturity, “falling away after its purpose is finished”, which generally coincides with Autumn. The term deciduous when speaking about plants, refers to varieties that lose all of their leaves for part of the year. This is called abscission. The process is a means to conserve water and to better survive the winter conditions.
An evergreen plant loses its leaves on a different kind of schedule to deciduous plants, therefore giving it the appearance of being always green.
Semi deciduous plants lose old foliage when new growth starts.
Abscission is a highly complex series of physiological changes within the deciduous plant. Primarily, plants decrease the supply of chlorophyll to the leaves, in turn decreasing the green tone in the leaves, and instead allowing other colours to be more apparent. Chlorophyll production is at its highest in the summer months, when photosynthesis is taking place throughout the longer days.
Carotenoids pigments result in yellow, orange and brown tones that are present in the leaves.
Anthocyanin pigments result in red and purple tones, however these are not always present in the leaves. Anthocyanins are a result of sugars becoming trapped in the leaf structure late in the summer months, after the process of abscission has begun.
Here in Australia, the two best know deciduous trees are:
Australian Red Cedar – Toona Ciliata
Once favoured as Australia’s premier hardwood, the Australian Red cedar is now not commonly found. It is an extremely large tree, growing to heights up to 35 metres, so requires adequate space.
It is a traditional deciduous tree in that it sheds all its leaves and then produces a rich red new growth in spring.
White Cedar – Melia azedarach var.australasica
This cedar plant can grow up to 20 metres in height, and is a fast growing plant, favoured by many home gardeners. The tree produces a yellow fruit which is poisonous to humans, but much to the delight of hungry birds, remains on the tree long after the last leaf has fallen.
Both of these trees occur in subtropical rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales. In Tasmania the deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii) can be found.
Other deciduous trees include:
Tanglefoot Beech – Nothofagus gunnii
This plant favours colder climates, so you will see them happily flourishing in Tasmania. It is very much a traditional example of a deciduous tree in that all the leaves turn golden, amber, and red tones before shedding completely at the beginning of winter.
Some trees are semi deciduous in Australia such as:
Silky Oak – Grevillea robusta
Semi deciduous plant, losing it’s leaves before presenting it’s showy blooms.
Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
This is not seen as a true deciduous tree as whilst it does lose all its leaves, the striking red bell flower remains. It creates a stunning contrast against the bare stems.
In the coming weeks you will start to notice more leaves on the trees turning a decidedly golden tone and from there, amber, rich rusty tones, ruby and aubergine. Be inspired by what surrounds you, and ask Florist with Flowers to create you fresh flower bouquets in Autumnal tones, full of texture and earthly delights like berries, seed pods and interesting foliage.
We hope we see some of you over this Easter weekend to create special bunches for your homes, or to organise a fresh flower delivery for someone throughout Sydney.
Wishing you a Happy Easter, here’s hopping the Easter Bunny is god to you