Ammons, Nelle Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Last reviewed:September 2021
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A woody higher plant that regularly loses its leaves at the end of each growing season. Deciduous plants drop (shed) their leaves seasonally, most commonly during the fall (autumn). In general, the dropping of leaves occurs at the inception of an unfavorable season characterized by either cold or drought, or both. Many woody plants of temperate climates have the deciduous habit, and the deciduous habit also may occur in tropical regions having alternating wet and dry seasons. Many deciduous trees (see illustration) and shrubs of regions with cold winters become evergreen when grown in a warm climate. Conversely, some trees, such as magnolias, which are evergreen in warm areas, become deciduous when grown in colder climates. See also: Evergreen plant; Leaf; Plant; Plant anatomy; Plant physiology; Seasons; Tree
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