While a number of trees sprout with pink foliage, which turns green, then gold and brown in fall, it is unusual to find a tree with pink leaves although some bushes, like the burning bush (Euonymous alatus) ends the season with hot pink colour. As temperatures drop, leaves are signalled to produce hormones that change colours. The leaves are dropped to reduce the energy drain on the tree that respirating trees would draw. Anthocyanins are responsible for the pink hues in fall leaves.
Pink Flowering Crepe Myrtle
Flowering pink crepe myrtle is one of the longest flowering trees. It has big puffy clusters of hot pink blooms for 60 to 120 days. The tree has unique flaky bark that rolls off the trunk. The plants are suitable for temperate to warm regions and the tree will lose its leaves in fall. The leaves are normally a vibrant green but turn to a pinkish maroon colour over the period of autumn change.
The flowering dogwood sports pink flowers in the spring and are really a tiny flower in amongst pink bracts or modified leaves. The plant is suitable for shade to semi-shade locations but can grow in full sun. Flowering dogwood has an old fashioned aspect that makes it a good choice as an ornamental specimen. In fall, fruits form that are large and red drupes. Bird love them and they look like the tree has been decorated. The green, pointed leaves turn a slow crimson and fade out to a pinkish purple.
There are so many varieties of maple and their colour range is so varied that you are bound to find pink leaves scattered among the traditional gold and orange. Temperature has a lot to do with the exact colour palette that a tree achieves. Some of the variegated maples produce spectacular fall colour with pink tinges. Silver Cardinal gets a yellow and pink leaf, Flamingo turns green and white with a tinge of pink and Butterfly turns a rosy pink in fall.
Staghorn sumac is a small tree or large bush that spreads like wildfire. Sumac makes a lovely ornamental tree with its fernlike leaves and bright fuzzy fruits. Staghorn sumac is native to North America but is more widely grown in Europe as a landscape plant. It is adapted to poor soils and a variety of light levels. Its fall colour is a shocking pink that outshines every other autumn hue.
- University of Illinois Extension: Why Tree Leaves Turn Color in Autumn; Jeffrey O. Dawson
- Lees & Company: Acer
- Ohio State University: Cornus Florida
- Floridata: Lagerstroemia Indica; Steve Christman; June 13, 1997
- Connecticut Botanical Society: Gardening with Native Plants- Trees and Shrubs; Janet Novak; 2002