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Fall 2009

Urban Jungle

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:



Autumn air show





Gliding

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.

Rolling

Straight, slender leaves are prone to rolling over and over around the axis of the leaf midrib; usually performed while spinning.

Spinning

Asymmetry sends leaves into a twirling dive.

Looping

A bowed margin at a leaf's terminal end can cause end-over-end tumbling, with breakout moves of any
of the above actions.