Have you ever wondered why leaves change their color in autumn? Well, most people associate this phenomenon with the rush to buy warm clothes for winter.
However, there is a biological reason that explains why the transition from summer to winter is always very colorful! This article details the factors that lead to this unique phenomenon. Read on!
Why Plants Change Colour During Autumn
Change of colour is a biological occurrence that is meant to prepare the plants to survive the cold winter season. The shedding of the green colour ensures that the trees preserve the energy they have until the next summer thus guaranteeing their survival.
Why the Green Colour is Crucial for Plants Survival
For plants to survive, they must get adequate sunlight, water, and mineral salts. The leaves capture the sunlight through a chemical constituent known as chlorophyll.
This sunlight is used in food manufacturing through a process called photosynthesis. As a result, plants can survive without getting food from external sources, unlike human beings.
The Link Between Weather and Colour Discolouration
Chlorophyll is the element that gives all plants their green color. As such, its reduction will lead to discoloration of the leaves. Also, chlorophyll is a crucial element necessary for photosynthesis.
In summer, there is a lot of sunlight and plants manufacture a lot of food. On the contrary, winter is cold and has shorter days which significantly reduces the process of photosynthesis.
When the transition to winter starts, the plants will detect the changes and invoke measures to safeguard their food stores. One such measure involves the breaking down of chlorophyll to produce nutrients for use when there will be no sunlight. These nutrients are stored in their roots since they are significantly shielded from the adverse weather conditions.
It is the chlorophyll breakdown that results in a change of the leaves’ green color as observed in autumn.
Why Do Leaves Change into Different Colours
After chlorophyll breakdown, leaves remain with other components that are not necessarily green. For example, a plant can have carotenoids as the predominant component which will result in yellow/orange leaves (carotenoids are the components responsible for the orange color in carrots).
As such, the leaves will turn into different colors which may include red, yellow, purple, or even white! The different colors manifest colorfully and form attractive sceneries!
Why Are There No Colourless Leaves in Autumn?
For any leaf to become colourless, it means that all its components have been broken down. While this is possible, it does not happen since only chlorophyll is rich in nutrients.
Why Does the Leaves Fall in Winter?
The breakdown of chlorophyll during autumn results in the drying of the leaves after which they fall off the tree.
During the spring, the weather starts getting warmer and sunny. As a result, trees use the nutrients stored in the roots to make new leaves in preparation for summer.