Archive for November 18th, 2008

Autumn Color in Texas

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Joke all you want that Texas doesn’t have four seasons; you can witness some amazing autumn scenery at Lost Maples SP.

Autumn’s a good time to come to Lost Maples [State Park] cuz of the Fall foliage and brilliant colors we have here.

John Stuart is Park Superintendent. He explains that the leaves are charmed into changing color by the season’s weather, but where the real magic occurs is inside them, where a chemical process takes place.

Most of the year, when the leaves are green, you have a lot of chlorophyll in the plant; and that’s what actually feeds the tree and keeps it growing. And if the water supply is cut off and cold weather comes around, then the chlorophyll breaks down and leaves the other pigments remaining. On cloudy warm days, starches form tannins and they make it brown. And If it’s cold and sunny, then the sugars come to bear on the leaf, and they form with the proteins and it makes the beautiful colors we enjoy when we come out here.

It’s not just the colors that are special. They call them Big Tooth Maples because their leaves, though smaller in comparison to others, have deep cuts between its fingers. And you don’t find them many other places.

The Ice Ages wiped out most of the Big Tooth Maples across the continent. These are just surviving pockets. So they’re lost simply because what are they doing out there by their selves.

More on these magnificent trees at

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Sarah Loden… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.