The falling of mulberry leaves

Early Tuesday morning, still dark about 6 a.m., the mulberry leaves were  falling. It was a shower of leaves, one after another, a sudden letting go.

Monday, Veterans Day, the sky was overcast gray. It was a somber gray November sky that suits reflection and remembrance. (One could say that a cold, clear sky is equally  evocative, and I would certainly agree.)

The overcast sky  also promised rain, and snow showers in the afternoon.  Already a wintry forecast.  Yes, snow and lake-effect snow!  A hard frost away from the Lake.

The frost nipped the mulberry leaves. They are still mostly green, well, greenish– olivine–no yellow leaves this year.  The leaves look blasted, flash-frozen. The neighbor’s tree  over my deck and the mulberry by the alley both dropped their leaves overnight.

What is this agreement among mulberries, a chemical bond, a consensus of the trees? All the mulberries in the area decided to drop their leaves.

Mulberries are especially sensitive to temperature changes.  A frost can cause the leaves to form an abscission zone, a layer of cells that  allows the  leaves  to cleanly separate from the twigs.

I have heard that mulberries and ginkgos can drop  all their leaves at once.  Well, it has been documented. Here is an account by Bill Felker. He even counted the leaves.

Today, I can say I was able to witness this almost simultaneous falling.

The dusting of snow was melting in the morning sun. The falling leaves sounded  like rain. One after another, the leaves fell, too many to count  at once. By 7:30, it was pretty much over. The mulberry trees are almost bare, now.

And everywhere, the  mulberry leaves!


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Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: mulberry leaves


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  • Thanks, Weather Girl, for combining science, poetry and a vocabulary lesson!

  • Thank you, Margaret Serious. I am so glad you stopped by. It was really something to see. And still, a mystery.

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