We all love the vibrant colours of Autumn, but do you know how the leaves of trees display such awesome wonder? Well described below in simple terms is one of natures glorious processes:
Leaves contain three pigments which are produced by cells in helping the tree to obtain food.
The Three Pigments that colour the leaves are:
- chlorophyll (green),
- carotenes (yellow) and
- anthocyanins (reds and pinks).
You will have noticed that in some years’ the Autumn colour was moderate and some years’ outstanding. This is to do with the weather.
- Un-seasonally low temperatures (freezing) will destroy chlorophyll (green). This makes the leaves fade to yellow.
- Temperatures that stay above freezing (un-seasonally mild) anthocyanin production is enhanced and the leaves will take on a vibrant red colour.
- Sometimes the weather is unusually dry for a period of time. This can have a dramatic effect on sugars become concentrated in the leaves. This will promote an increase in anthocyanin production, resulting in a more intense red pigmentation
- Sometimes we experience very sunny days in Autumn, especially with climate change. Frequent bright sunny days increases photosynthesis even when the production of chlorophyll stops. This results in an increase of sugar being concentrated in the leaves with more anthocyanin produced, which results in the leaves being redder.
Enjoy this Autumn!