Home > Uncategorized > (Fall)ing Leaves

(Fall)ing Leaves

I have something to admit to you guys.

I am endlessly, hopelessly, ridiculously in love with the changing leaves.  It’s just so cool that the leaves turn all of these different colors. Never having real seasons before, I kind of just walk down streets and stare at the trees. Yeah, it’s bad. I hear that this isn’t even the prettiest that it gets.

So of course, the first thing I did was turn to Google to find out why leaves turn and why it only happens in some parts of the world. Turns out, it all has to do with living through the winter. Because of the summer heat and sunglight, trees make chlorophyll in abundance, which turns the leaves green. Once it starts to get cold and the days become shorter, the trees realize that they need to store their chlorophyll for the next spring, so they bring the pigment down to their roots. This, and the reactions of different chemicals in trees causes the leaves to turn colors. Of course, in more tropical climates the weather doesn’t change, so the trees have no need to store chlorophyll and remain green year-round.

I guess that there’s really no point to this post; it’s just in random appreciation of fall and changing leaves. But if you want to see really, really pretty trees, here’s a guide.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 24, 2011 at 1:46 am

    First let me say that Fall is my favorite time of year for that very reason, then again the holiday food isn’t so bad either. The leaves changing colors has always been relaxing to me.
    Secondly, I just finished talking about this in my biology class last week! So for the science part: Chlorophyll reflects green light, which is why leaves normally appear green to us. But there is also another type of pigment that resides in leaves called carotenoids which reflect the colors red, yellow and brown. So in the fall, as you pointed out, when the chlorophyll retreats back into the tree to be conserved for the following year, the carotenoids remain behind and the leaves change colors. I thought that was cool!

  2. October 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Autumn’s my favorite season as well and I’m very excited to see some truly spectacular leaves. In Seattle, where I’m from, we do get some very pretty leaves but because of the rain, they get pulled off the trees before we have time to appreciate them and form these soggy brown mush-piles. Also, due to our climate, we have far more conifers than deciduous trees. I was planning on further explaining the role of chlorophyll and light reflection but someone beat me to it, so I guess this is also just a random appreciation of pretty leaves as well.

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