Why we have Fall color…

fall Color
Red Maple

Do you know What Produces the Different Colors in Tree Leaves?

Yellow Pigments = Carotenoids

Carotenoids are pigments that have been present in the leaf cells all the time during the leaf’s life. They provide the yellow that leaves exhibit when the chlorophyll is not present.

Red or Purple Pigments = Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are pigments that form in the cell sap of some species in the summer and fall. The combination of dwindling chlorophyll and resulting sugar breakdown, along with bright sunlight, cool temperatures, and transfer of phosphorus from the leaf to the steams, produce the red and purple anthocyanin pigments seen in maples and other species.

Orange Pigments = Carotenoid’s and Anthocyanin’s

It is the combination of the two pigments that bring out orange colors in trees.

Green Pigments = Chlorophyll

During the spring and summer, the green chlorophyll pigments dominate and mask out other pigments in the leaf.

Brown Pigments = Tannin

Tannin’s cause the brown hues often seen in tree like oaks. Tannin’s actually act as a defense system for plants against pathogens, herbivores and poor environmental conditions.