(adjective) Describes trees and shrubs that shed their leaves at the end of the growing period, often with brilliant color, followed by a period of dormancy. These plants typically have woody stems and broad, flat leaves. Shedding leaves in winter or the dry season is a natural adaptation to conserve water and survive harsh weather. Examples of deciduous trees include maples, oaks, birches, aspens and elms.
Because deciduous trees frequently bear flowers and fruit, they are a vital food source for many birds, not only from the fruit and nectar itself, but also through the insects the tree attracts for pollination that the birds can then feed on. After the leaves are shed, the leaf litter can also provide birds with everything necessary for survival: food, water, shelter and nesting materials.
Photo – Deciduous Forest © Rick Cooper