20 colourful autumn facts to inspire you
The leaves on the trees are just beginning to change colour, with the conker tree usually dropping its first. This is a gorgeous time of year, a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poet Keats. So here are some colourful autumn facts to ease you into the new season, a time when nature’s blaze of thrilling colour heralds the cosiness of darker evenings and fresher, dew-drenched mornings.
Fall in love with autumn with these fresh seasonal facts
- There’s no autumn to speak of when you live near the equator
- While the start of autumn is defined by the planet’s orbit around the sun, on 22nd or 23rd September when the equinox falls, human-made meteorological autumn officially kicks off on 1st September every year
- A surprising number of different animals go through something called ‘gonadal recrudescence’ in autumn – in other words, their mating impulses are deactivated because of the lack of sunshine. Interestingly, the opposite happens to humans – in autumn the testosterone in men and womens’ bodies peaks...
- ...but it doesn’t peak as dramatically as your hamster’s! Did you know male Siberian hamster’s testes expand to as much as 17 times their normal size as they prepare for autumn mating? Crikey
- A similar thing happens to a little bird called the chickadee, whose brain expands dramatically in autumn to help it remember where to find the seeds it needs to survive the winter
- Millions of monarch butterflies migrate in autumn, travelling as far as 2500 miles in search of warmer weather and flying as fast as 25mph
- Women lose more hair in autumn than at other times of year
- ‘Fall’ isn’t an Americanism – apparently it was the word for autumn here in the UK until the 1700s when the revolutionary new word, ‘autumn’, arrived
- Love Facebook? Autumn is the time you’re most likely to change your relationship status on social media
- Time to chill out - because there’s less sun for photosynthesis, trees slow down their metabolism and drop their leaves in late autumn until the days get longer again
- The word ‘harvest’ comes from the ancient Norse word ‘haust’, to collect or pick
- In some places on earth autumn is being muted, with little or no colour change in the leaves before they drop. It’s a climate change thing, and it’s even affecting the world famous autumn ‘colour’ in Maine, USA
- If you’re furry, this is the time of year when your fur grows thicker to keep you warm
- On 26th September 2021 a huge pumpkin weighing 1,226 kg (2,702 lb 13.9 oz) was grown by Stefano Cutrupi from Tuscany, Italy – and it was a world record-breaker
- Peckish? Autumn’s cooler weather makes us want to eat more fat, an ancient impulse to put on weight before food becomes shorter. The lack of vitamin D from sunshine means we’re less good at breaking fats down too, which boosts our natural autumn weight gain even more
- According to the Journal of Aging Research, if you’re born in the autumn you’re more likely to live to 100 than people born at other times of year
- Some say we get cuddlier in autumn as winter approaches and we seek comforting human warmth
- This is the time of year when we get the most geomagnetic storms, which is why NASA calls autumn the aurora season
- If you’re a pagan you might call autumn Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, or Alban-Elfed
- The so-called Indian Summer we just enjoyed in the UK is a phenomenon that only happens in central and eastern USA, and across Europe
If you’re thinking about adding some more colour to your wardrobe, it’s the perfect time to ring the changes.