Why Some Leaves Change Colour and Some Don't

Photography Trees

What do you love most about Autumn? At Koala Chess Art HQ, we love the colours of our beautiful countryside. Not only does everything get a little frosty, and kind of shimmer, but the leaves turn such vibrant splashes of colour. No longer a uniform green, they are like a gentle fire, roaring with colour as they gather together in parks, forests and gardens alike. But have you ever asked why they do this? Well, today we did. And so we went looking for an answer.

Person in Autumn

Everybody loves Autumn leaves

Well first of all, we need to understand that our glorious trees are approaching a harsher season. They need all the food they can get. And so they absorb this food from their leaves - draining them of all their delicious chlorophyll. It wouldn’t be our first choice for dessert, but each to their own huh?

Field Mouse

This field mouse agrees - leaves are yummy

Now, it is in fact chlorophyll that gives the leaves their luscious green. But, along with this green pigment are yellow and orange pigments, more scientifically known as Carotenes and Xanthophyll pigments, and these even give carrots their colour. For most of the year, the green overpowers these colours, but as the trees soak up the last of the chlorophyll, and the reduced light and heat stop the leaves from producing more food, these fiery hues shine through. So viola - autumn has arrived.

But what about those trees which keep their green leaves all year round?

Green tree

At Koala Chess Art HQ, we can't deny that green trees are still beautiful

Good question. Also known as evergreens, this group of trees are famously loyal to their word. And, unlike the others, such as the striking maple tree, they do not lose their leaves (or needles) at the same. Think of it like your hair - yes many strands fall out, but not at once. And so, while one falls out, another is growing in to replace it. And so it appears as though nothing changes. Add to this the fact that needles, such as the conifer, have strong, waxy outer coatings which protect them from the cold and prevents them from drying out.

So there you have it.

Beautiful and intricate, you now have a newfound appreciation for your local park or forest don’t you?

Tree in sunset

 


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