By Amelia Loeb, Communications Intern
Autumn in the northern hemisphere means leaves transitioning through vibrant hues. Here’s our list highlighting some of the most beautiful tree species to keep an eye out for throughout the fall. But don’t take our word for it, get outside and make your own list!
Sweetgum leaves in fall. Credit: J. Micheal Raby via Flickr
Native to the Southeastern United States.
Can be seen as north as Chicago and as far south as Florida.
Leaves: Star-shaped; turn a glossy reddish-purple
Stump Scratcher: It’s documented that extracts from the sweet gum tree were used in ceremonies between the Aztec Emperor Montezuma and Spanish conqueror Cortez.
Red maple leaves in fall. Credit: Greg Wagoner via Flickr
Native to Northern Great Plains and Great Lakes areas.
Can be seen all over the United States.
Leaves: Turn ruby red to yellow-orange
Stump Scratcher: It’s the state tree of Rhode Island, but it remains a mystery why it was chosen.
Pin oak leaves in fall. Credit: ekentir via Flickr
Native to Southern New England, Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Mid West.
Can be seen all over the United States except for southern Florida and parts of Texas.
Leaves: Turn scarlet to Bronze
Stump Scratcher: Pin oak acorns provide a food source for many woodland creatures, such as mallards, songbirds, squirrels and white-tailed deer.
American Beech leaves in fall. Credit to Suzanne Cadwell via Flickr
Native to Novia Scotia and southern Canada.
Can be found across the United States in ornamental settings.
Leaves: Turn a vibrant to dusty yellow
Stump Scratcher: Until it fell in 1916, there was an American beech tree in Tennessee into which “D. Boone Cilled A Bar On Tree In Year 1760 ” was carved.
Eastern redbud leaf in fall. Credit Vincent Brassinne via Flickr
Native to North and Central America.
Can be seen across the United States, excluding places with hot, dry climates.
Leaves: Heart-shaped; turn a musky yellow
Stump Scratcher: Eastern redbuds produce beautiful pea-like, rose-colored flowers in spring, before they produce any leaves.
Quaking Aspen leaves in fall. Credit: Bryce Bradford via Flickr
Native to northwestern United States.
Can be found in the northwestern United States.
Leaves: Turn gold
Stump Scratcher: It’s “quaking” due to the slight breeze that rustles through the leaves.
Stump Scratcher 2: Holds the title for largest living organism, because it grows in clones. Trees up to 50-feet apart can be connected by underground stems.
Honey locust leaves in fall. Credit: Leonora Enking via Flickr
Native to United States, notably from Pennsylvania to Nebraska.
Can be seen across the United States.
Leaves: Turn a bright yellow
Stump Scratcher: Native Americans used honey locusts as a source of wood, medicine and a sweeting agent in food.
Apline larch leaves in fall. Credit: Credit J Brew via Flickr
Native to the northwest United States.
Can be seen in the southern and western United States.
Leaves: Needle-shaped; turn a golden-yellow
Stump Scratcher: Unlike most conifers (think pine-cones), alpine larches drop their needles before winter like a deciduous tree.
Gorgeous Trees Not Native to the Western Hemisphere
Japanese persimmon leaves in fall. Credit: miheco via Flikr
Native to China (it’s a misnomer).
Can be seen south of New England and Northern California in ornamental settings.
Leaves: Turn bright orange-yellow
Stump Scratcher: Its yellow-orange fruit can hang on past when the leaves drop off and are said to taste similar to an apricot.
Crape myrtle leaves in fall. Credit: Brandi Korte via Flickr
Native to China.
Can be seen in the Southern United States and along the west coast.
Leaves: Turn yellow to fiery orange
Stump Scratcher: Fall isn’t just their time to shine. During spring, crape myrtle trees display plumes of bright pink flowers.