Autumn Beauty Abounds

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What a spectacular year for fall color! From red maples reminiscent of a sailor’s sunset and gingko as bright as the sun shining on them, it’s difficult not to become entranced by the majestic display tendered by changing autumn leaves. Offering an explosion for the senses, what we are really experiencing is chemistry happing right before our eyes! Let’s take a closer look at some of this year’s highlights.



Liquidambar styraciflua


A personal favorite of co-author, Carrie Brown, sweetgum gives inspiration to an artist’s palette dedicated to bold colors. Reds, golds, purples, and deep greens can all paint a single leaf, with its neighbor a unique combination all of its own.


a sweetgum tree in the fall


a sweetgum tree in the fall



Ginkgo biloba


Favored by co-author, Curtis Young, ginkgo is often sought after for its brilliantly yellow fall display. Their elegant, fan-shaped leaves adorn each branch, fluttering in the breeze until they fall down into a dramatic sea of gold.


a gingko with yellow leaves in a parking lot


gingko has yellow leaves in the fall


Red maple

Acer rubrum


This medium-sized, deciduous tree puts on a show-stopping performance of reds, scarlets, and crimsons each fall. Widely used in the home landscape, many cultivars have been developed to offer dependable, vibrant autumn color that can be spotted from a distance.


red maple with red leaves in the fall


red maple with red leaves in the fall



Sassafras albidum


Perfect for those who prefer to stray from uniformity, this species offers not only an array of fall colors, but also an assortment of leaf shapes! Bright yellows, oranges, and reds adorn leaves with one, two, and three lobes. Variety (not pumpkin) is the spice of life. 


sassafras tree along a woods edge


sassafras trees with leaves of many colors


Sugar maple

Acer saccharum


Causing leaf peepers galore to flock to northeastern states each fall, few native species are known for their autumn display as much as sugar maple. And perhaps you've noticed, 2023 has been a particularly good year for their colors in many parts of the state!


sugar maple with fall colors in a cemetary


sugar maple with fall colors in a cemetary