Why leaves change color

WRITTEN BY: LIBBY GRACE

COVER PHOTO BY: ENA HUMPHRIES

Fall is a time where the grass begins to fade and the leaves change their color, although we are aware of these changes, we do not know why they occur. In fall, the days become shorter, lessening the sunlight absorption for all living things. Specifically in leaves, a chemical called chlorophyll is reduced due to less sunlight. Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their vibrant green color, but when it dwindles, their color begins to fade. All leaves contain two chemicals known as carotene and xanthophyll. These chemicals contain pigments of yellow and orange. When chlorophyll reduces the amount of food and water it makes for the leaf, the normally dominant green color recedes. Yellow and orange pigments that have been in the leaf year round finally have their time to shine, but only for a moment.

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