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Random Fridays: Autumn Leaves 2

Autumn leaves: sweet gum

Autumn leaves: sweet gum

I had quite a surprise last Saturday when I spotted this tree with vibrant red leaves. I’d never seen anything this colourful during autumn in Sydney.

I’m not sure what sort of tree it is, though courtesy of Google I think it might be a “sweet gum”. ‘Gum tree’ makes me think of eucalyptus, but this is not an Australian tree: “[It] is a deciduous tree native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America. Sweet gum is a valuable forest tree in the southeastern United States, and is a popular ornamental tree in temperate climates.” (source)

The tree was very big and leafy, and I was across the road, so the spiny pods were unexpected when I saw the photo on my computer screen.

Autumn leaves: sweet gum. A good view of the spiny pods here.

Autumn leaves: sweet gum. A good view of the spiny pods here.

If you wondered about the strange shadows at the top and bottom of the feature photo, I’ll tell you that I was crouched down on my side of the road, zoomed in as far as my lens will zoom (which admittedly is not very far for lenses these days, only 20x optical) and aiming at these fallen leaves lying curled along the curb — and just as I pressed the shutter button, a car went by! So the photo was taken beneath the car. The black shape at top is the car’s underside, and the black shape at bottom is its shadow on the pavement.

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