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Shadows and highlights in the Arboretum

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 19, 2016

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Shadows and highlights in the Arboretum

This week has offered spectacular blue skies to witness fall colors interacting with the low angle of the sun in the mornings and late afternoons. The near mythical golds of the hickories (bottom right; Carya glabra, the pignut hickory; 23166*A), larches (bottom left; Larix decidua var. polonica, the Polish larch, a red-listed taxon native only to Poland; 1188-63*C), and ginkgoes were ablaze in the unfiltered sunlight – each species’ gold so different from another.


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It was, however, one of the Arnold Arboretum’s majestic beeches that stopped me short, in a manner I had not anticipated in my upward peering wanderings. This Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis; 14586*A), now shorn of leaves, cast down a magnificent set of shadows of the trunk and shoot system – on the very leaves that had just been separated from these branches! An ephemeral last reunion of once-joined stems and leaves.

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