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Evergreen, Deciduous Trees

Extracted from "Our Tree Neighbours", by Chakravarti Venkatesh, NCERT publication.

In some kinds of trees, like the Mango and the Conifers, all the three vegetative organs are present all times of the year. They are known as evergreens. Others shed their entire foliage during part of the year. They are called deciduous trees.

Many of our trees occurring in the plains are partially or wholly deciduous like the Red silk cotton, Flame of the forest or the Indian Laburnum. They lose their foliage prior to or during the dry hot season and thereafter put on new foliage in the following seasons. In Willows, Poplars, Elms and other similar (broad- leaved) trees of colder parts of the world, such shedding of leaves occurs in autumn, which season is therefore often referred to as the 'Fall' in those regions. During the severe snowy winters of these areas these trees consist only of roots and the bare leafless stems, and may appear apparently dead. However, the stem bears dormant resting buds of the new foliage which remain concealed till they emerge the next spring.

In our country such winter deciduous trees are naturally found in the higher elevations of the Himalayan mountains. Thus if you visit Kashmir in winter, you will find the familiar Poplar and Chinar trees standing like ghosts draped in snowy white. It must be realised that although an evergreen tree bears leaves all the year round it does shed its older leaves which however keep on falling, off and on, but never all at one time. Some trees may be said to be partially evergreen, that is, although they are never quite leafless like the true deciduous trees, they have more leaves in the moist season than in the hot dry season.

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