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Changing Leaves

14 September 2009
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Shannon Judd, FDL Resource Management

Why do the leaves change color in the fall? Kids in the community offered suggestions: “It’s too cold and they die” and “Because it’s fall.” Were they right?

Leaf color comes from pigments produced naturally from leaf cells. Green is caused by chlorophyll, the dominant pigment that helps the plant produce food. As days shorten chlorophyll disappears, revealing yellow and orange pigments. Red pigments can also be produced by environmental factors late in the season (think maple!).

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