A touch of brightness in an otherwise dull landscape

These and a few brightly colored berries and seeds and the only things adding color to the Winter landscape. I always wondered what they were and couldn’t understand why people would want brightly colored cabbages in their non-vegetable gardens. After some ‘googling’ I discovered that they are ornamental (or flowering) cabbage . Apparently there are a number of varieties. Who knew?

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 28-75 f3.5-5.6 OSS.

A woodland picture

I often walk in this nearby patch of woodland. There are a number of lovely, old, large trees, but somehow I’m fascinated by this patch where the smaller trees are more densely packed. Unfortunately, as with the stone bridge mentioned in an earlier post (See: The bridge across the road revisited) I keep taking pictures of it because I haven’t been able to get one that I really like. I sense that there’s something there, but I just can’t get it.

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 28-75 f3.5-5.6 OSS.

Marcescence

I learned a new word today: “marcescence”. During my walks I’d noticed a number of these trees and had wondered why they retained their leaves after all the others had lost theirs. Apparently scientists have studied this phenomenon and refer to it as “marcescence.” Why do the trees do this?

According to the University of Illinois:

“Several theories have emerged on the advantages of foliage marcescence. Winter foliage may deter browsing by herbivorous fauna by making it more difficult to consume stems, lending an advantage to a young understory tree that would otherwise be a prime target. As the tree gets taller, growing above the browsing height, there is less advantage, which may be why some trees lose their ability to retain winter leaves in maturity.

Another theory explores how marcescence can help deciduous trees compete with their evergreen counterparts in nutrient-poor environments. In these situations, where we know evergreens tend to dominate, it is advantageous for a deciduous tree to hold its leaves over winter and release them in spring. The leaves add some needed organic matter to soils in spring — think of it as compost.
During this time of high nutrient demand for spring leaf out, the tree self-fertilizes the soil beneath. There is also evidence that suggests photo degradation of leaves held over winter begins to break them down, or pre-composts them a bit.”

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 28-75 f3.5-5.6 OSS.