Why do leaves change colour in au­tumn?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q & A - DAV­INA TAUN­TON, LED­BURY

De­cid­u­ous trees drop their leaves to re­duce wa­ter loss dur­ing win­ter, when it is too cold to grow. But rather than just dis­card the en­tire leaf, the tree re­cy­cles as much of it as pos­si­ble, to con­serve ni­tro­gen. The green chloro­phyll is the first to be bro­ken down and re­ab­sorbed, which al­lows yel­low carotenoids and red an­tho­cyanin to show through.

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