When I made a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden (MoBot) this past weekend, my primary goal was to see and photograph the spring flowers. My mind's eye was focusing on the magnolia, cherries, daffodils and hellebores -- the true stars of spring. However, as I made my way through the different gardens of MoBot, I realized that in and amongst the bright colors of spring bulbs and the whites, pinks, and roses of the flowering trees were a large supporting cast of leaves.
Of all the foliage I photographed at the Missouri Botanical Garden this weekend, the undisputed winner of the Best Supporting Actor in a Spring Botanical Role would be the foliage of the Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava). The leaflets that comprise the leaf on this member of the soapberry family splay out in a perfect drooping pattern, catching the sun to create a spotlight on the center of the leaflet.
With the rate at which tulips and daffodils are being hybridized into figments of their former selves, the Yellow Buckeye just might sneak in for a lead actor award sooner than we think.