Foliage Season

In New Hampshire, the end of the biologists' field season is spectacularly marked by the brilliant blaze of fall colors in the state's forests, swamps, peatlands, and marshes. Most notable are the leaves of the various maple tree species - especially the red and sugar maples. It's not just the trees, though.

The vegetation of most natural community types turns color at some point during the fall. At the seacoast, the rushes of the salt marsh turn a pale yellow while several other halophytic salt marsh species turn very bright red. In the North Country, Sphagnum mosses and shrubs in bogs and fens often turn wildly different colors from the green conifer forests that surround them. Even the leaves of the dwarf plants of the alpine zone change to bright reds and yellows as autumn begins.

Classic northern hardwood - spruce - fir forest community at Mt. Moosilauke (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

The northern hardwood - spuce - fir forest turns colors in the Kilkenny Range and the transition to high-elevation spruce - fir forest is dramatically evident (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Bright red glasswort plants in the Hampton Harbor salt marsh (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  Sugar maples light up the roadways in the Merrimack River valley (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

A white oak leaf in New Boston (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

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