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From the June 2009 Conservationist

Close up of the leaves of the white oak tree

Extraordinary Leaves

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.

Orangey-yellow Sassafras tree leaves
Leaves of the Sassafrass tree (Sassafras albidum) in fall color
Yellow fall foliage of the Northern red oak
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.
Green swamp white oak leaves on a black background
ostrich fern leaves backlit by the sun
Ferns are among the plants that have the most beautiful foliage.
The red leaves of the Virgina creeper vine climb up a tree
Virginia creeper vine in fall, climbing up a tree