Thistle's picture

Marcescent Oak

Observed: 9th January 2013 By: ThistleThistle’s reputation in PlantsThistle’s reputation in PlantsThistle’s reputation in PlantsThistle’s reputation in PlantsThistle’s reputation in Plants

Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) exhibiting marcescence - retaining its dead leaves until spring. The abscission layer between the leaf and the twig fails to form completely. It may grow out of this as it matures. Commonly seen in beeches (Fagus) too.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) interacts


Rachy Ramone's picture

Lovely description!

This quirk is often exploited by gardeners: if you keep a hedge of beech or hornbeam cut to less than about 6' high (2m) it will exhibit this phenomenon, so you get a degree of privacy from the hedge, even in winter.

Of course, in spring you still have to sweep up the dead leaves....

Often described as "occurs in juvenile foliage", which means exactly what we've each said - if you keep cutting it, you get constant young foliage, and if you don't, then the tree "grows out of" the habit.

It can occasionally happen in other trees, if an early frost in autumn kills the leaves before the abscission layer (which seals off the dying leaf after all useful nutrients etc have been drawn back into the tree) forms: so the leaves just don't drop off.

Ah, nature, fascinating, eh?

Rachy Ramone

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