Trees for autumn color

Get an up-close look at the leaves that give these trees their autumn glow

Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis).

A garden-scale tree with a rounded canopy; narrow leaflets give it a lacy appearance. In fall, foliage turns luminous shades of orange and red to gold. Sunset climate zones 4-16, 18-23.

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

The most airy and delicate of all maples. Varieties with colorful leaves include 'Atropurpureum' (bronzy green); 'Bloodgood' (scarlet); 'Bonfire' (orange-pink); 'Ever Red' (crimson). Zones A3, 2-10, 12, 14-24.


Maplelike leaves give this stout-trunked tree a lacy effect. Fall color varies by variety. L. styraciflua 'Palo Alto' has orange-red to bright red leaves. L. styraciflua 'Festival' turns yellow, peach, pink, orange, and red. Zones 3-9, 14-24.

Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba).

A graceful tree with fan-shaped leaves that turn buttery yellow in fall; they drop all at once to create a golden carpet on lawns or paving. Zones A3, 1-10, 12, 14-24.

Pin oak (Quercus palustris).

An open, rounded tree. In brisk fall weather, the glossy leaves turn yellow, red, and finally russet brown. Zones 2-10, 14-24.

Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki).

In fall, leaves turn vivid yellow, orange, or red; after they drop, brilliant orange fruits hang on well into winter. Best in zones 6-9, 14-16, 18-24, H1.