Fruits and leaves of autumn

By: Tony Hall - 04/11/2011

Tony Hall shares his favourite fruits and leaves from this autumn's show.

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Luscious leaves

Trees display an array of vibrant colours at this time of year. Here's my pick of some of the best to look out for:

Vitis leaves         Maple leaves

Images: Vitis leaves (left); maple leaves (right)

Diospyros leaves          Parrotia leaves

Images: Diospyros leaves (left), Parrotia leaves (right)

Quercus coccinea leaves         Psuedolarix amabilis

Images: Quercus coccinea leaves (left), the conifer Psuedolarix amabilis (right)

Fabulous fruits

There is a wonderful show of autumn fruits this year: some are edible for us, such as the hazel and sweet chestnuts, but many more are palatable for birds and mammals. I'm sure that for most people, the prime autumn fruit is the blackberry.


Image: Blackberries - a favourite autumn fruit

However, there are many fruits from around the world in our collections and now is the best time to see them. The fruits of the ash, called ‘keys’ because they resemble bunches of keys, the Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) whose fruits can be as big as tennis balls, and the smelly fruits of Ginkgo, are just a few to watch out for.

ash keys   Osage orange fruits  Ginkgo fruits

Images: Ash "keys" (top left), Osage orange (top right), Ginkgo biloba fruits (bottom)

Keep an eye out for the Sorbus fruits as well - especially the Kew hybrid with its white and pink contrasting fruits.

Sorbus x kewensis fruits   Sorbus forestii fruits

Images: Sorbus x kewensis fruits (left) and Sorbus forestii fruits (right)

- Tony -

Tags: beautiful

3 comments on 'Fruits and leaves of autumn'

Tony Hall says

09/11/2011 5:21:05 PM | Report abuse

Although badgers are omnivores, and will probably eat many things when times are hard, I have never noticed any of the Osage orange which fall to the ground showing signs of being eaten. This is not to say they don’t. As a matter of interest I will have a look at this year’s wind fall.

Kew Feedback Team says

08/11/2011 3:40:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your question, we'll get back to you with an answer shortly.

oak leaf says

07/11/2011 1:50:54 PM | Report abuse

What beautiful pictures. I look forward to visiting Kew this autumn to see all of these. Is it true that badgers like eating the osage orange fruits?