Oxydendrum arboreum
Foliage sequence from (August) September - October

Oxydendrum arboreum - September color    copyright  2001 Mark McDonough

Starting as early as August, the Sourwood tree begins to
color up, the shiny, leathery leaves taking on burnished
mahogany and beet coloration.  The dark leaves contrast
beautifully with the delicate white flowers.  In September, the
color is uniformly dark red (photo taken 9/26/01), and the
flowering structures (spent flower heads and developing
seed capsules) remain bright white, continuing the faux
"floral" effect.

Oxydendrum arboreum - October color   copyright  2001 Mark McDonough

For a brief 2 weeks spanning the last week of September
and first week of October, the tree glows with deep ruby
red leaves, still adorned with the contrasting white seed
capsules.  What a fine sight!

Oxydendrum arboreum - after leaf drop    copyright  2001 Mark McDonough

All photos by Mark McDonough

By the 2nd week of October, all the leaves have been shed
yet the white seed structures remain prominent for another
2 weeks before aging brown.  The Sourwood tree is fully
defoliated before most other trees have developed their
autumn color.  Interestingly, it's also a late tree to leaf out
in the spring, so it's season of growth is shorter than most
trees.  Take note in the specimen shown above... I was
careful to select a single trunk tree, as often it's available
as multiple-trunk trees, which don't look as nice.

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Questions or comments on this page?  Contact Mark McDonough at antennaria@aol.com.

Images and textual content copyright 2001 Mark McDonough

This page was last updated on 11/11/01