Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

A winter coat

The buds of many temperate-region trees, which must be able to survive winter, are protected by scales. In spring, their work done, these scales are no longer needed, and drop off in a process called bud burst. With some broadleaf species, the outermost scales are actually embryonic leaves; in spring, during bud burst, instead of dropping off like most scales, they develop into leaves. These are called naked buds.

This naked bud comes from a sweet viburnum and the scaly bud, from a red oak.

Photomontage of the scaly buds of a red oak (Quercus rubra) and the naked bud of a sweet viburnum (Viburnum lentago)
1. Quercus rubra / 2. Viburnum lentago
© 1. Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant) / 2. Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec (via Jardin botanique de Montréal)