MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What makes leaves turn colors in the fall?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What makes leaves turn colors in the fall?

I noticed this the other day driving into our parking lot here at Star. Some leaves already turning brown, orange and yellow. It’s not even September yet! But what makes them turn into that beautiful fall shade come autumn?

Let’s take a quick trip back to middle school science class… the leaves are actually that fall color all year-round.  But red, orange, and yellow pigments only show up once a chemical called chlorophyll gets to them. That is what makes the leaves look green. Then it eventually breaks down in the fall months we are entering now.  Think of it like this. Those foliage colors are really just masked by the amount of “green” chlorophyll the rest of the year in the spring and summer.

Science!

Photo credit: Getty Images