Fall Colors

Some trees are noted for their spectacular fall colors, as shown in Figure 31-11. The changing fall colors are caused mainly by a photoperiodic response. As nights become longer in the fall, leaves stop producing chlorophyll. As the green pigment degrades, other leaf pigments—the carotenoids (kuh-RAHT'n-OYDZ)— become visible. Carotenoids include the orange carotenes and the yellow xanthophylls (ZAN-thuh-filz). The carotenoids were always in the leaf but were hidden by the chlorophyll. Another group of leaf pigments, the anthocyanins (AN-thoh-SIE-uh-ninz), produce red and purplish red colors in cool, sunny weather.

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