Tag Archives: new england foliage

Five Famous New England Trees

Although we often take them for granted, trees are an important fixture of life.  They make our surroundings more beautiful, provide shelter and food for wildlife, and are an important natural resource.  Here in New England, impressive trees are a fact of life.  We love our big, beautiful trees!  They line our streets, shade our yards, color the autumn, and dot our historic town greens.  It’s no wonder that throughout the years, some New England trees have become important historical symbols.  Through their size or their role in events, these trees were woven into the identities of the towns in which they grow.  Unless you live near one of these trees, you may not have heard of them.  We’d like to list five famous New England trees and hope you’ll let us know if you’re familiar with any of them!

1.  The Endicott Pear:  Located on Endicott Street in Danvers, MA, this pear tree is the oldest flowering, fruit bearing tree in the United States.  This impressive tree has been producing pears for over 300 years!

Endicott Pear, image via treehugger.com.

Endicott Pear, image via treehugger.com.

2.  The Survivor:  This elm tree grows in front of Parkhurst Hall in Hanover, NH.  It earned the name The Survivor after enduring through dutch elm disease, the Hurricane of 1938, and road project which severed some of its roots.  The Survivor is as beautiful as it is tough!

The Survivor, image via dartmouth.edu

The Survivor, image via dartmouth.edu

3.  Tree of Independence:   Planted by Willam Whipple in 1776 after signing the Declaration of Independence, this horse chestnut is located on the law of the Moffatt-Ladd Hourse in Portsmouth, NH.

Tree of Independence, image via waymarking.com

Tree of Independence, image via waymarking.com

4.  Sculpture’s Honey Locust:  The largest honey locust in NH, this was planted by noted sculpture Augustus Saint-Gaudins in 1886.

Sculptor's Honey Locust, image via Little Dog Vintage.

Sculptor’s Honey Locust, image via Little Dog Vintage.

5.  Pinchot Sycamore:  The largest tree in Connecticut, the Pinchot Sycamore is 93 feet high with a trunk circumference of over 25 feet.  To see this amazing tree in person, visit Simsbury Center.

Pinchot Sycamore, image via backwoodshome.com

Pinchot Sycamore, image via backwoodshome.com

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Autumn is a bright and beautiful season full of vibrant foliage, but why do leaves change color?  To understand this process, we have to explain the process of photosynthesis.

Why Are Leaves Green?

Westchester Tree Life NY

Image Courtesy of Homegiudes SFGate

Plants absorb sunlight which transforms the water and carbon dioxide they have absorbed into oxygen and glucose.  Glucose is a kind of sugar which plants use as energy; glucose is a fundamental building block in the life of a healthy plant.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants transform water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose.  Chlorophyll  is a chemical plants have which assist  in the process  of photosynthesis.  Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color.

When Leaves Change Color . . .

Fall Leaves Westchester Tree Life NY

Once summer shifts into fall, and the days become shorter, there is less sunlight and water for the plants to absorb, therefore the plants must rest and live off of nutrients they have stored for winter.

As the bright green color fades from the leaves, we are able to see different colors which have been present in the plant all along.  The absence of chlorophyll makes it possible for us to see the underlying colors, from shades of red to plum.

Bright, Beautiful Autumn Leaves

National Geographic Leaf Westchester Tree Life New York

Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

Some trees, such as Maple trees, keep glucose trapped within the leaf structure long after the photosynthesis process has come to a halt. A combination of cool fall temperatures and sunlight sparks a chemical reaction which transitions these leaves from green to a vibrant red.

Now that you know why leaves change color, enjoy a lovely walk through our beautiful New England foliage!