The hallmark of the season is the falling of autumn leaves. In Ohio, and throughout temperate regions dying leaves are changing color and blanketing the gardens and forest floors. What sort of fun facts on leaves can we dig up?

And maybe suggest some entertaining crafts to go along with the dry information, as well.

Fun Facts

  • Best foliage color? A summer with plenty of rainfall plus dry fall days with sunny daytime and cool night time begets good autumn hues.
  • The process that leads to colorful leaves is called “abscission“. Cells proliferate at the base of leaf stem. They block the flow of nutrients and initiate the process of changing color and fall.
  • The red color needs light. So, if you place a mask that blocks light over any part of a leaf before it turns red, that part will turn yellow instead.
Why are leaves purple?
  • Leaves need carbon dioxide that humans and animals breathe out, and they return oxygen, which we need to breathe in.
  • Koala bears eat only eucalyptus leaves.
  • Panda bears eat primarily bamboo leaves (99% of their diet). They consume 12-38 kg of these leaves every day.

The Chemistry of Color

Color changes result from the appearance of certain elements in the leaf.

Leaves We Consume
  • The tea we drink is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.
  • Bay leaves are used to give flavor to soups, stews, marinades, and more. Many herbs are the leaves of a plant.
  • Many cuisines use grape leaves as edible wrappers for dishes such as Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). We all know about stuffed cabbage leaves, but grape leaves have a more subtle flavor that goes well with similar meat and rice stuffing.

 

  • Many of our favorite vegetable leaves come from the Brassicaceae family of plants.
  • Some leaves are poisonous or hold medical properties that make them potentially dangerous. Rule: Always know what is safe to eat, and if in doubt, don’t consume.

Leaf Crafts Are a Fun Project

There are loads of fun and beautiful things to do with leaves that you can freely gather from just outside your door.

Collages

I’ve seen entire art collages made from dried leaves glued to a backing (canvas, cardboard, art board). Skeletonized leaves make a superb lacy texture. Or they can be used as accents or backgrounds in mixed media pieces.

Use them for stamping projects: apply ink and press.

The Unusual

Make a bowl? Yes!

Leaf Roses are much like paper roses.

 

Hope you liked this compilation of a few fun facts about leaves, The feature photo  is of my maple tree leaves in the late afternoon sun. They were just turning and I snapped the photo for Instagram.

More Plant Science on this page: leaves, roots, and flowers!

Variegated leaves bring a different look to a garden.