Today is the first day of summer. By this time of year, all the trees are in full leaf. As one goes about the city, you can spy how trees differ in height, shape, but most especially by colour. It is amazing the diversity of them. Trees really do come in a rainbow of hues, enough to please any eye. Why, just take a look at this small sampling of a rainbow’s worth of different trees.
A RAINBOW IN THE TREES
Red Trees – The spectrum of colours starts with red. This vibrant colour can be found in a number of different tree species. Japanese maples have bright red delicate leaves. In the fall, many different maples flame red as the leaves prepare to fall, the most obvious of those being the red maple. Sumacs are hard to miss as well in their flaming glory. The Canada red chokecherry also has a hue of purplish-red in its leaves as the leaves mature, whereas the crab apple starts red and fades to green as the season progresses. Don’t forget the trees with the word “red” in their title, like red oak, red ash, red pine or the red mulberry.
Orange Trees – While many trees start out green, as the temperatures dip, the colour of the leaves changes. Sugar maples are well-known in these parts to turn a vibrant red or orange in the Autumn. The American beech also turns a yellowish-orange colour, as does the silver maple. While the name suggests the colour, it is the orange-coloured fruit of orange trees that give them their names.
Yellow Trees – Yellow is another colour that dominates the fall landscape. You can see it in the yellow poplar, beech, hickory and ginkgo trees, as their leaves get ready to drop in the Autumn. In the spring, the forsythia dazzles everyone with its early yellow flowers that covers the bush. The golden locust stays yellow from spring, throughout summer. Trees with yellow in their name include the yellowwood and yellow birch.
Green Trees – It is hard not to find a green-leafed tree around! Many tree’s leaves start out green before changing colour in the fall. Others start out a different colour, then fade to a green variant. There are light greens, dark greens and everything in between. A list would be exhaustive, but willows, oaks, lindens and of course the green ash, all sport green leaves.
Blue Trees – You won’t necessarily find bright blue trees scattered around your neighbourhood, but there are still trees about that can qualify as being blue. Think about the colour of the bark, leaves or even the berries and you will soon see what I am talking about. There is the blue ash and blue beech. Junipers have a blue hue, as do many varieties of hosta. And Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the blue spruce!
Indigo/Violet Trees – Challenging the old colour wheel now! While indigo may be rare, you can spy the false indigo shrub, which has blue/violet flowers. Some lilacs also have flowers that would fall into a purple category. Barberry bushes have leaves that fall into a deep burgundy, as do elderberries and smoke bushes.
White/Black Trees – At either end of the rainbow, we have white and black. The birch tree gives us white with its distinctive bark and the flowering dogwood presents beautiful white flowers. There are white spruce, cedar, ash, oak and elm trees. As far as black trees go, the black spruce, maple, alder, ash, willow, oak, and locust all can be found in Canada. The bark of the black cherry and black walnut is what gives it their names. Black leaves usually aren’t a good sign though, indicating a lack of a green thumb by the gardener’s standards.