Columbia recognized among famous cities for its fall colors

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COLUMBIA - Columbia received top honors among famous cities around the world. The city was ranked in the top 27 Exquisite Places Around The World To See Brilliant Fall Colors This Year in an article on

Other places on the list include cities in New Zealand and the Czech Republic. Columbia is one of only 10 cities from the United States to be ranked.

State Forestry Extension Specialist Hank Stelzer said Mid-Missouri is a natural melting pot of tree species.

"We are on the southern edge of the natural range of trees to our north; the northern edge of species to our south; and the western edge of species to our east," he said.

According to Stelzer, that, coupled with the varied terrain and rich soils found along the Missouri River hills allows for many micro-climates to support all of those species. However, Stelzer said a few things must happen before Mid-Missourians will start to see the beautiful fall colors.

"First we need a good growing season where the trees are not overly stressed and able to produce a lot of sugars. Next, starting about early fall we need warm days and cool nights," he said.

This allows the green chlorophyll pigment in the leaves to break down and unmask the other pigments found in the leaves; carotenoids (yellow and orange hues) and anthocyanins (red and purple hues).

"Any disruption in the process can turn the promise of a 'wow' color season into a dud season," said Stelzer.

The ranking comes just in time for the first official day of fall, which began on September 22nd at 9:29 p.m.