Beautiful Autumn Photos: Fall Colors.
The falling leaves are turning brilliant shades of red, orange, brown, gold and yellow, farmers’ markets are beginning to sell seasonal pumpkins and gourds, coffee shops are selling spiced coffee, and there’s a nip in the air.
The banks of a rushing brook are littered with colorful leaves in a spectacular scene of the fall season. Shortening days signal the coming of cold weather to broadleaf trees. Unable to protect their leaves from the chill they shed them after extracting the foliage’s essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous.
The browning of leaves, perhaps the most noticeable sign of fall, occurs when the air starts to cool and daylight hours start to shorten. During the summer, chlorophyll pigments help absorb energy from the sun and keep leaves green. All the other colors we see in the fall are always present in leaves (even in the summer), but it is only when the leaves’ green pigments break down that they are revealed. The leaves are shed to help the trees survive the winter – shedding them reduces trees’ water needs and reduces their susceptibility to the winter’s harsh conditions.
Before leaves fall in autumn they treat peepers to riotous color displays—but most of them don’t “change” color. Natural pigments called carotenoids, which produce yellow, brown, and orange hues, are always present in leaves. During the growing (and photosynthesis) season they are masked by green chlorophyll.
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Beautiful Autumn Photos: Fall Colors: