Trees in Autumn

Here are four trees with spectacular autumn colouring.  To find out more about why trees change colour in autumn click HERE


The Claret Ash is now very common in parks and on streets, where it is planted for its spectacular autumn display, produced when its green leaves turn red or purple (claret). It is a cultivated variety of one of the natural forms of Narrow-leaved Ash with the scientific name oxycarpa. The cultivated variety was discovered as a seedling in South Australia in 1910 at a property called Raywood and introduced to Britain in the mid 1920s.

The Norway Maple is native to Europe, from Scandinavia to the Caucasus. It was introduced to Britain in 1683 and is now commonly found in gardens, streets and parks. It is one of the first trees to look green in spring, when its green flowers open before the leaves. It has the 5-lobed leaf typical of the Maple family but differs from the Field Maple and Sycamore in that its lobes and teeth have finely pointed tips. It has a winged fruit like all maples but the wings hang down at an angle whereas on the Field Maple they are flat.

The Japanese Maple, also known as the Smooth Japanese Maple, is a shrub or tree native to Japan, China and Korea. It was introduced to Britain in 1820. Typically in Japanese gardens it was a small dome-shaped tree that gave shade but over the centuries many varieties were developed with different leaf shapes and colours. Today it is one of the commonest garden trees, usually in its slow-growing small tree form.

The Sweet Gum is a deciduous tree native to Southeastern USA and the cloud-forest mountains of Mexico and Central America. It was introduced to Britain in 1681. It is an ornamental tree planted in many parks and gardens in warmer areas. It has crimson autumn foliage and unusual fruit, similar to that of the London Plane. In its native habitat the tree was grown commercially for its aromatic gum, originally known as ‘liquid amber’, hence its scientific name. The tree is a member of the Witch-hazel family, which includes the Persian Ironwood.