From the June 2009 Conservationist
By Stephen Green-Armytage and Dennis Schrader
Photos and adapted text copyright Stephen Green-Armytage and Dennis Schrader
-used with permission from Extraordinary Leaves, Firefly Books, Ltd.
About the authors:
Stephen Green-Armytage's previous books, Extraordinary Pheasants, Extraordinary Pigeons, and Extraordinary Chickens, proved that there is much unappreciated beauty in the natural world around us. His photographs have appeared in many other books and magazines including Sports Illustrated, Life, Fortune, and The Smithsonian.
Dennis Schrader runs a major greenhouse on Long Island. A professional horticulturalist, he is a regular television guest on Martha Stewart Living, and frequently seen on Today and HGTV. Schrader is the author of Hot Plants for Cool Climates: Gardening with Tropical Plants in Temperate Zones.
While working on Extraordinary Leaves...[we] gained a new appreciation for all leaves, not just the peacocks of the plant world, but the sparrows as well. [We] concentrated on leaves that are beautiful and interesting. The subtle details, characteristics and intricacies of simple leaves are indeed astonishing, and with the addition of some color, a few well-placed indentations or possibly some thorns or hairs, a leaf morphs into an entirely different thing.
Leaves of the Sassafrass tree (Sassafras albidum) in fall color
Members of the genus Quercus (Oak) are a perfect example of the
possible diversity of leaf margins within a single genus. Northern red oak
shown above, swamp white oak below.
Ferns are among the plants that have the most beautiful foliage.
Virginia creeper vine in fall, climbing up a tree