At this time of year, the pigments (xanthopylls, anthocyanins and carotenoids) in the leaves of deciduous plants break down giving the colours of the Fall. These colours are particularly obvious in trees (like the Maples) in New England, on the East Coast of America – and they attract many vistors .
However, our trees and woods also offer impressive displays of colour and you can find your nearest wood (for autumnal colour) by visiting the Forestry Commission website. The woods are rated from green to yellow, monitoring the progression of the colours. You can submit a rating for the wood after your visit. There is also an App – called ForestXplorer; which gives details of woods / forests, and information on events, trails and holidays.
However, golden autumnal leaves are not the only 'golden' leaves. A recent paper in Nature (Communications) reports on the presence of GOLD in the leaves of some trees. Scientists from CSIRO have found that trees, like Eucalyptus sp can be good indicators of gold deposits buried many metres below ground. To find the tiny / microscopic amounts of gold in the leaves they used a powerful X-ray machine – called a synchrotron.
They calculated that the gold from some 500 trees would be needed to make a gold ring! It seems that the tiny gold particles are drawn up with the water into the roots and then pass through the vascular system (xylem tubes) to the leaves, Sampling leaves for gold may eventually prove to be an environmentally sensitive way of identifying where ‘gold deposits’ lie.