The Secrets of Fallen Leaves

My favorite season has always been fall. Not only is it the time of pumpkin spice and hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, but I have so many incredible memories associated with this time of year. Many of these are the countless hours my grandma and I would spend walking her dogs through the woods, admiring the changing leaves and collecting a few to save in a scrapbook. We’d find a few of our favorites, then she would help me iron them between sheets of wax paper and add them to our fall binder.

The pretty pattern of a leaf, up close.

As I was out walking my dog, alone now that I have moved away from my grandparents, I saw the leaves on the ground and wanted to give them another look. I collected a few leaves and some odd looks from my neighbors and decided to use my foldscope to get a closer look at the leaves and stems. I think they’re just as beautiful up close as they are on trees of scattered across my neighborhood. The patterns of cells and veins show how the leaf is structured and nourishes itself. Unfortunately, I could only get a very blurry image of them stem, but it too was a wonder of organization and functionality.

A small slice of a leaf stem.

I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.

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