Saturday Quiz – Unleaving

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) at the back of the Guildhall in the City of London)

Dear Readers, I have always been fond of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem ‘Spring and Fall – to a Young Child’, which seems to me to sum up the human predicament.

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

But it seems to me that part of the glory of the ‘unleaving’ is the extraordinary range of colours that the leaves achieve before their eventual demise. How brightly they shine at the end! Something to aspire to, surely. And so, for this week’s quiz, let’s have a look at some autumn leaves, and see if we can pair them up with their names. You have until 5 p.m. UK time on Thursday to pop your answers into the comments, and if you don’t want to be influenced by anyone speedier, write your cogitations down first :-).

I think this is a pretty tough quiz, and would be delighted with myself if I got half of them right, but then you lovely people always surprise me, so let’s see….

Onwards! Just match the photo to the species. So if you think photo 1) is of a horse chestnut, your answer is 1)a)

a) Horse Chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum)

b) Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

c) London Plane (Platanus × acerifolia)

d) Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

e) Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

f) Alder (Alnus glutinosa)

g) Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

h) English Oak (Quercus robur)

i) Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

j) English Elm (Ulmus minor)

k) Silver Birch (Betula pendula)

l) Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)

m) Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis)

n) Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

o) Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Photo One by Liz West from Ash
Photo Two by Peter O'Connor from Beech
Photo Three by AnemoneProjectors / CC BY-SA ( English Oak
Photo Four by By Famartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Weeping willow
Photo Five by Stefan.lefnaer / CC BY-SA ( Alder
Photo Six from English elm
Photo Seven from the Trees for Cities website
Photo Eight by Famartin / CC BY-SA ( hawthorn
Photo Nine by Rosenzweig / CC BY-SA ( Wild Service Tree
Photo Ten by Leonora (Ellie) Enking at
Photo Eleven by Marija Gajić / CC BY-SA ( Sycamore
Photo Twelve by Ninjatacoshell / CC BY-SA (
Public Domain (Ginkgo biloba)
Photo Fourteen by By Rosser1954 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Silver Birch
Swamp cypress

9 thoughts on “Saturday Quiz – Unleaving

  1. FEARN

    1) d
    2) i
    3) h
    4) e
    5) f
    6) j
    7) c
    8) o
    9) m
    10) n
    11) l
    12) a
    13) b
    14) k
    15) g

    I would say that was pretty tricky. The process of elimination helps but I now realise how confusable leaves are.

  2. Ringgi

    1 d
    2 i I love that bronze colour and texture
    3 h
    4 e
    5 f
    6 j. I can’t see the leaf base to check if the two sides are offset
    7 c
    8 o. I think the deep lobes may indicate this is Midland hawthorn. What do you think?
    9 m I’m glad you included the brown berries in the background
    10 n
    11 l
    12 a. Nice to see a leaf not damaged by leaf miner
    13 b. I love that bright yellow colour
    14 k
    15 g

  3. Sarah

    I found that fairly easy but trees are my best subject (not saying much). Here is my attempt:
    1 Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
    2 Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
    3 English Oak (Quercus robur)
    4 Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
    5 Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
    6 English Elm (Ulmus minor)
    7 London Plane (Platanus × acerifolia)
    8 Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
    9 Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis)
    10 Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
    11 Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
    12 Horse Chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum)
    13 Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
    14 Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
    15 Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

    I love Goldengrove Unleaving too!

  4. Sylvie Higgins

    I enjoyed doing this. Thank you.
    1) d 2) i 3) h 4) e 5) f 6) j 7) c 8) o
    9) m 10) n 11) l 12) a 13) b 14) k 15) g


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