Weather Forecast


Red leaves from plants besides trees

A poison ivy plant with red leaves on an autumn day. Photo by Larry Weber

Early October is a time of much color. The trees that have been here in full foliage since May now give us a superb show before dropping their food-producing leaves.

The deciduous trees are mostly red and yellow in fall. I find red leaves are more likely at woods' edges, in maples, red oak, dogwoods, highbush cranberries, cherries and sumacs.

Yellows far outnumber the reds. Trees in yards, parks and woods are quick to show their colors. Poplar and birch are some of the earlier ones to take on this new glow.

Other woody plants, some quite small, add their colors to the autumn as well. This list of shrubs and vines can be much more colorful than expected, but because of the smaller size, we may need to spend some time searching for them.

Among the shrubs and bushes to hold red leaves are raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Others, maybe a little less known, but just as colorful in October, are bunchberries, bush-honeysuckles and roses.

A couple of vines also give quite a show with their bright red leaves. Best known is the Virginia creeper, or woodbine. These vines climb high in many Northland sites and even can cover the sides of houses and other buildings. They may not always be appreciated at such locations, but now with a red glow on their red leave, they become a sought-after sight.

Also not appreciated and even avoided by many, poison ivy get into the color show as well. The notorious plant of three leaves now shows another side to its existence when it shines with a brilliant red foliage, on ground or vining, as good as those of the desired trees.

Larry Weber

Retired teacher Larry Weber, a Barnum resident, is the author of several books, including “Butterflies of the North Woods,” “Spiders of the North Woods,” “Webwood” and “In a Patch of Goldenrods.” Contact him c/o Katie Rohman at