November 2, 2021

Phytoprints in Vancouver: Nature’s Sidewalk Stamps

On Homer Street between Georgia and Dunsmuir (and on the opposite side of the former Post Office now to become Amazon offices) is a plaza and large sidewalk with  what looks like an array of fallen leaves on them. But not really. They are phytoprints of leaves.


The marks on the sidewalk are actually the water soluble tannins that come from deciduous trees, in this case maples. It is The shape of the leaf is consistent with a type of maple tree leaf, and the brown coloring is characteristic of the water soluble tannins that would be extracted by water. It forms a spectacular, if not permanent phytoprint on the sidewalk.

Tannic acid protects trees from insects, bacteria and fire, and is found in bark, seeds and leaves. And for one moment in Vancouver, it serves as nature’s own sidewalk stamp.


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