The changing natural world at our doorsteps | Illustration and text by Patterson Clark
November 10, 2009
Falling leaves create an autumn air show
Every leaf performs a unique dance from twig to ground, an aerobatic display consisting of one or more of the following:
Symmetrical leaves can fold themselves into a V, creating a keel shape that lets them sail in long, straight swoops — though sometimes wobbling or yawing from side to side.
Straight, slender leaves are prone to rolling over and over around the axis of the leaf midrib; usually performed while spinning.
Asymmetry sends leaves into a twirling dive.
A bowed margin at a leaf's terminal end can cause end-over-end tumbling, with breakout moves of any
of the above actions.