Breakdown: Why do leaves change color in the Fall?
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Every autumn we revel in the beauty of the fall colors.
Leaves that were green all summer long start to turn bright red, orange, and yellow. But where do these colors come from?
It all starts inside the leaf. Leaves have color because of chemicals called pigments, and there are four main types of pigment in each leaf:
Leaves are green in the spring and summer because that’s when they are making lots of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is important because it helps plants make energy from sunlight—a process called photosynthesis.
The summer sunlight triggers the leaves to keep making more chlorophyll. But trees are very sensitive to changes in their environment.
As summer fades into fall, the days start getting shorter and there is less sunlight. This is a signal for the leaf to prepare for winter and to stop making chlorophyll. Once this happens, the green color starts to fade and the reds, oranges, and yellows become visible.
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