The leaf show hasn’t begun in the south just yet so now is a great opportunity to look at some common leaves before the color changes begin!
Red Buds (Cercis canadensis) are some of the pretties plants is spring but their foliage is pretty nice too. They have heart shaped leaves with a dark glossy green coat. There are some varieties of redbud that have purple leaves (like ‘Forest Pansy’) and others with lighter green foliage.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a colonizing tree with three forms of leaves. One is a simple lobed leaf, another mitten shaped, and the third has three main lobes. It turns a beautiful red-orange color in the fall. Sassafras tends to colonize areas and is one of the first trees to propagate in areas that used to be fields as they change back to forest land.
Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) have large palmate leaves similar to maples. When the leaves turn brown they tend to be thick and can smother grassy areas. It’s a good idea to run the leaves over with a lawnmower a few times before throwing them in the compost bin or using as a mulch. I love the white peeling bark of the sycamore trees!
The tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is the state tree of Tennessee. It flowers in the spring and reproduces prolifically. I think I have one of these in every garden and not because I planted them! It’s time transplant a few. Quite a few!
These leaves come from a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra). The nuts are of any great quality but can be used to stain wood. Walnuts have a chemical in the leaves called juglone that inhibits the growth of many plants.