Nature Moments: Leaf Behavior in the Cold

Have you noticed how some broad-leaved trees and shrubs in the north hold onto their leaves throughout the year, including those freezing winter months? How can these leaves survive such conditions?

Plants may not move as quickly as animals,” observes Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences Nathaniel T. Wheelwright ,”but check out the ‘behavior’ of rhododendron leaves when it’s frigid. Their drooping and curling help prevent damage from excess light when it’s too cold to photosynthesize.”

Enjoy this latest Nature Moments video, and if you want to make your own natural history observations, The Naturalist’s Notebook by Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich (Storey Publishing, 2017) provides guidance and a systematic format, with 100 percent of royalties going to conservation and environmental education.

Check out more Nature Moments.