WCN explores the science behind the colorful scenery
VIDEO of the beautiful fall foliage
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 14:10
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.-- The many forests and rolling hills of Pennsylvania create an abundance of beautiful scenery in the fall. As autumn takes over the countryside, the varied trees turn many beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange.
While these colors happen every fall, many causal observers don't know what causes them. Leaves featuring shades of yellow and light orange had those colors all along. The green chlorophyll in the plant simply kept it hidden during summertime. Trees stop producing cholorophyll once the days grow shorter. As a result, these brighter colors reveal themselves.
However, colors like red and deep brown take more work. Trees actually take sugar and produce a pigment called anthocyanin to make those deeper hues. The process depends upon agreeable weather conditions. This explains why leaf colors can vary from year to year.
Westminster biology professor Dr. Ann Throckmorton explains how leaves undergo these different processes to look this way.
WCN invites you to see the season in a scientific and poetic light.
To see more of the spectacular fall foliage, check out our slideshow: