Why leaves change their color

Weather Headlines

Fall is right around the corner and we will begin to see the trees prepare for winter. Some trees will lose their leaves while others will change their color. The weather plays a major role in when and how the leaves change their color. If you want to learn more about how the weather affects the leaves colors click here: https://www.wearecentralpa.com/weather/weather-headlines/prime-weather-for-prime-fall-foliage/.

The Science: The leaves like our own skin have pigments. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives the leaves their green color. “Chlorophyll? More like borophyll!” (Billy Madison). Chlorophyll is what changes sunlight into sugar, it how the plants feed themselves.

As we head into Fall the amount of sunlight decreases. With less daylight, the plants prepare for winter and stop making chlorophyll. Instead, the trees and plants break down the chlorophyll. As the chlorophyll goes away, other pigments begin to show their colors. The other pigments in the leaves are carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Carotenoids produce the colors yellow and orange. While, anthocyanins produce red, pink or purple colors. It’s these pigments that give the leaves their beautiful colors.

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