October 13, 2010
Fall is officially here. Now is the time to enjoy the beautiful foliage. Several elements contribute to the changing colors, such as shorter days and cooling temperatures. Moisture and tree genetic traits also play a part. All the colors are present in the leaves at all times, but in the spring and summer, the green colors dominate over the other colors.
Chlorophyll makes up the green pigment. In the fall, when the chlorophyll diminishes and cooler temperatures and moisture in the air drops, arytenoids make the yellow color. Anthocyanins make the red or purple colors, and tannins make the brown color. Orange is a combination of arytenoids and anthocyanins. Whether traveling to New England or the Appalachians to see the turning colors of fall, or just observing the trees in your neighborhood, all MCPL branches have lots of books on this science. One of my favorites is Trees of Missouri: a Field Guide. Check our online catalog to see what else we have to offer!
The woods and countryside are a wonderland of colors. Enjoy all the colors as you are raking all those baskets of leaves.