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Word of the Week: Deciduous
June 21, 2019 by Khadoni Chambers

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Oak leaf photo by Andrew Yee

Deciduous [dih-SIJ-oo-uhs] (adjective): A plant that sheds its leaves during one season, usually in the winter months.

Deciduous forests are found in areas with a temperate climate, usually characterized by a winter season that lasts 4-5 months and year-round precipitation. The three most prominent regions include Western Eurasia, Northeastern Asia, and our own region in High Park, Eastern North America.

Common deciduous trees include oaks, beeches, birches, chestnuts, aspens, elms, maples, and basswoods. Shrubs can also be deciduous, and are found primarily near clearings and forest edges where more light is available. Herbaceous flowering plants are abundant within the forest in the spring, before the deciduous trees above come into full leaf and block out the sunlight with their canopy. Old growth deciduous forests have extremely high levels of biodiversity by being home to a wide variety of insects, spiders, slugs, frogs, turtles and salamanders.

In High Park, we are fortunate to have acres of deciduous forest made up of a wide variety of plants such as Black Oaks, London Plains, and various Maples. Shrubs include but are not limited to Witch Hazel, and Purple Flowering Raspberry. High Park is also home to a plethora of animals that call the deciduous forest home such as squirrels, birds, raccoons, and even animals such as Garter Snakes, and Red Backed Salamanders

FUN FACT: Deciduous means "temporary" or "tending to fall off" (deriving from the Latin word decidere.

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