Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When the Maple Leaves Turn - Wisdom Wednesday

My grandmother could predict rain better than any weatherman.  When I was very young I took it for granted that because she was older than me she knew everything, so of course she would know when it was going to rain.

When I was a little older and she predicted rain, I asked her how she knew.   She pointed out a maple tree and showed me that the leaves had turned themselves bottom side up.  Both the green and silvery parts of the leaves were showing. Sure enough, within two days or less it rained.  Every time.

You may think the maples turn their leaves because of the wind.  Of course, they do; but they turn their leaves when rain is coming even before there is a wind.

In Eric Sloane's Weather Almanac:  A Classic Illustrated Guide to Weather Folklore and Forecasting, he corroborates Gramma's weather wisdom:  "When trees grow, their leaves fall into a pattern according to the prevailing wind.  Therefore, when a storm wind (which is naturally a non-prevailing one) occurs, the leaves will be ruffled backwards and show their light underside."

Except for two times during my lifetime, I've found my grandmother's weather wisdom to be accurate.  The maple leaves may be better predictors of rain than the weather man.


Copyright © 2012-2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. My parents taught this to me. My husband thought it was crazy until he realized how accurate it is.

  2. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mom all passed down this knowledge to me. Now I'm sharing it with my boys.

  3. Fascinating. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by scrub oaks and fir trees ---and they just aren't talking to me. --- but loved the post and comments.

  4. That is quite some skill. It would be easier to do over here as within every two days it rains, indeed within every two hours it seems to rain. It would be enough to make a maple tree dizzy.

  5. Frances and Heather, I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one who ever heard this. I've passed it on to my children, too.

    Joan, thanks for visiting. I'm sorry you don't have maple trees, they are so beautiful in so many ways.

    Alan, I love rain but I don't think I love it THAT much - not to have it rain every two days!

    After it rains, the leaves turn back over and then don't turn bottom side up again until there's been a dry spell. The leaves turning seems to have something to do with the trees being thirsty (if that's possible!).

    Thanks to all of you for visiting and leaving a comment.

  6. Nice article, thanks for the information.


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