Worms and Flowers

First Blush

Posted in Scientific by Lzyjo on September 24, 2009

Autumn is truly upon us and the leaves have noticed not a moment too soon.

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Just a few days ago, I noticed the tiniest blush of gold on the green hills.

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When the days shorten the trees respond by storing as much energy as possible for the upcoming months. They begin by sealing off the leaf petiole, preventing chlorophyll from regenerating.

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When the chlorophyll breaks down it leaves the more stable carotene molecules. Carotene naturally occurs in green leaves, acting as an accessory to increase absorption of certain wave lengths in the light spectrum. With the chlorophyll gone the leaf appears yellow due to light reflecting from the carotene molecules.

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Under certain stressful circumstances, bright dry days and cool nights, the tree makes a last ditch effort to recover any remaining nutrients.  If these condition are met, a reaction between the sugars and proteins in the sap occurs, catalyzing anthocyanins, pigments that can be red to purple colored depending on the pH. Anthocyanins are responsible for the red skin of apples and the purple colors of grapes.

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Depending on the temperature and weather conditions, fall displays can vary greatly from year to year.

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Sources:

The Chemistry of Autumn Colors

HowStuffWorks “Why do leaves change color and turn red?”

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7 Responses

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  1. Lizzy said, on September 24, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Wow, that’s interesting. Nature is cool man.

    LOL! I love nature!

  2. Barbee' said, on September 24, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Very nice post. I enjoyed seeing the cows. It makes me feel calm. I grew up on a farm and I miss the animals.

    Awww, I”ll miss them to when I have to move, they are so calm. My favorite is in the early morning or evening when it’s quite and you can hearing them tearing and chewing the grass. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Jen said, on September 24, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    Cool to learn about the science of fall color. The cows are cute, too!

    I loved chemistry class and my chemistry teacher Mrs. C, one of my favorite things was leaning about the trees changing!

  4. fairegarden said, on September 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    I never knew exactly how that happened, thanks for the great info! Cute cows and lovely pasture. I love the rolls of hay on a field. 🙂
    Frances

    It’s interesting isn’t it. I love the haybales too, I get used to seeing them all over, they are familiar and very inspiring. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. artistsgarden said, on September 24, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    What an informative post – not to mention wonderful pictures of cows. I do like cows!

    K

    Aren’t they beautiful! They are so photogenic!! Although they wonder what’s up with the camera, they are just being their beautiful selves!

  6. tina said, on September 24, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    The cows are too cute to illustrate your words. Looks like the one is wondering why you are snapping her pic:)

    I love their quizzical looks. They look so cartoonish. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Faith said, on September 25, 2009 at 7:20 AM

    Thank you for posting that. I can see they have learned more about this than when I was in school. 🙂

    Lets see… how can I stress my trees……?

    Lovely photos. I just took some this morning of the first hint of color happening here.

    ~Faith

    Aww, that’s a lovely compliment, Faith.
    It’s it amazing how suddenly they change!


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