November 8, 2021 ~ Red Mulberry

It doesn’t look like it, but the falling of leaves is nowhere near random. Honey Locusts begin dropping leaflets in early July. Walnuts begin their leaflet drop in August, and during the cold nights leading up to the first frost, something happens to the abscission layer of Red Mulberries (Morus rubra) the begin trickling down then, and with the first frost, there os a heavy drop. Trees build an abscission layer where the leaf joins the twig, and its function is to make the separation of leaf from tree, a clean event.  I’ve not seen any research along the lines of what happens specifically regarding the impact of frost on this layer of cells, but the results here are captivating.  Mulberry leaves are large and platelike, as you can see, this one is nearly 10 inches long and they pretty well cover the ground beneath the trees, and the branches of mulberries enjoy a good spread.

It’s the communal leaf drop that catches the eye and draws it to the incredible detail of the logistical infrastructure of a “simple” leaf.  That’s what drew me to this leaf, along with the yellow ground color, and the browning of the veins, along with a few spots that will soon grow to encompass the whole leaf.

The Honey Locusts are still dropping their leaflets, as evidenced by this one that landed on the mulberry leaf after it settled to the ground.  They are also intricately structured, but the venation is quite different.  It also says something about the scale of the Mulberry leaf.  Besides it’s a good excuse to wallow in the texture of just one section of the big yellow quilt.

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