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Marginalia

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 6, 2016

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Marginalia

The Arnold Arboretum is nothing short of spectacular this week, with whole hillsides ablaze and astonishing landscape scale views everywhere. But, my mind kept focusing on the minute; the individual leaves and extraordinary beauty of their edges. Perhaps it is the brilliance of autumnal colors that brings leaf shape into such vivid display.


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Sugar maple (Acer saccharum, 688-2010*A) leaf with insect-created margins (holes), sinuses, and lobes with pointed tips.

American chestnut (Castanea dentata, 24-80*A, lower left) leaf with saw-like teeth, in the midst of mobilizing its last nutrient reserves into the wood before dropping to the ground.

White oak (Quercus alba, 130-2016*A, lower center) leaves with rounded lobes and deep narrow sinuses.

Japanese beech (Fagus crenata, 429-87*A, lower right) leaf with soft undulating margins caught in the late afternoon sun.

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