Why do leaves turn color?
And did you know autumn leaves and egg yolks have something in common?

By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul


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autumn leavesHave you ever wondered why trees turn color? Believe it or not, it has something to do with egg yolks.

North America is one of the few places in the world where deciduous trees produce vibrant fall colors, according to hgtv.com. In Germany, a sugar maple turns a dull yellow at best, while in Vermont an identical sugar maple will turn a yellow so bright it’s almost fluorescent.

Though several factors influence this phenomenon, the key is climate: To produce great fall color, trees need crisp, cold nights and clear sunny days.

Color change in leaves is brought on by a series of chemical reactions, many of which kick in by changes in day length. But to understand why some leaves turn brown while others burst into color, it’s necessary to understand why leaves are green in the first place.

Green leaves contain chlorophyll, which is vital for photosynthesis and plant growth. In spring and summer, leaves are loaded with chlorophyll, so they remain green. When the days grow shorter though, leaves stop producing chlorophyll. The green color bleaches out and a whole new batch of chemicals, or pigments, start creating fall colors.

Here’s where the egg yolk thing comes in. The two pigments responsible for yellow and orange are xanthophyll and carotene, the same compounds that create the color in eggs and carrots.

So there you have it. A bit of trivia you can share with your friends..

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