Science & Technology

Why Leaves Change Color

By Manal Layachi

Volume 2 Issue 3

January 14, 2022

Why Leaves Change Color

Image provided by Britannica

Have you ever wondered why leaves change color? This year, it took the leaves a long time to change color and fall off trees because of climate change. Leaves get their color from chlorophyll, carotene, xanthophyll, and other leaf pigments. As you might already know, plants use carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to make oxygen and glucose. This process is called photosynthesis, and it occurs in leaf cells containing chlorophyll. In the fall, the leaves stop performing photosynthesis because of changes in temperature and daylight time. As a result of this, the chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and a yellow-orange color replaces it. Other chemical changes can occur, which form more colors because of the development of red anthocyanin pigments. These colors include red, purple, and brilliant orange. All these colors are created due to the mixing of the chlorophyll and other pigments.

As leaves change color, other changes occur as well. A special layer of cells develops at the point where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree. This layer gradually breaks apart the tissues that support the leaf. However, the tree seals the break simultaneously, so when the leaves fall from their own weight, they leave behind a “leaf scar.”

Overall, the changing of color in leaves is fascinating and extraordinary!