Growing Up - Leaf Color

The color of the leaf is sometimes another identifying clue. Of course, all leaves begin their lives green. The green color is from the pigment chlorophyll, which is used to absorb the sun's energy to make food.An animated slide show of several colorful leaves.
But in the autumn, a leaf experiences many changes that will alter the green color. As the days shorten, a separation - called a "leaf sear" occurs at the base of the petiole. This separation stops the flow of sugar and traps it in the leaf. The sugar then produces a pigment, either red, yellow or a combination. At the same time, the chlorophyll starts to decompose. This causes the leaf's green color to fade revealing the red, yellow or orange.

A bright yellow fall leaf photo.A green American Chestnut leaf.A bright red fall leaf.