Thursday, October 22, 2009

Color revealed

Every autumn in the Northeast we are treated to bright color foliage. The reds, oranges and yellows can be spectacular both as wide vista and as close-up.

But what to me is amazing is those colors have actually been there all summer and only revealed in the fall. During the summer the tree generates chlorophyll, the pigment that enables photosynthesis, and this is what provides the energy needed to grow and live. When autumn descends the days get shorter, triggering the tree to stop making chlorophyll. The green color recedes and the masked colors are revealed. The tree transitions into dormancy and the leaves eventually drop, protecting the tree from winter winds and snow.

Amazing, isn't it?

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