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Dead Leaf

Dead Leaf

a dead eucalyptus leaf
Fallen eucalypt leaves often show bright colours
Photographer - John Broomfield
Source - Museum Victoria

The yellows, oranges and reds of autumn leaves are absent from the Australian bush.

This does not mean that the evergreen eucalypts do not drop their leaves-the loss occurs all year round in a gradual manner. Eucalypt leaves sustain a lot of insect and fungal attack-a part of their natural life cycle.

Leaves grow and die-and these leaves often take on autumnal colours in response to different types of insect and fungal damage. Once the dead leaves hit the ground, they begin another cycle-the cycle of decomposition and return of its components to the soil.

Again, insects and fungi are involved, although a different set from those that lived on the leaves when they were in the canopy.

While these leaves are decomposing on the ground, they also provide shelter for a myriad of little invertebrates that are involved in turning over the soil and plant litter.

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