Plants for Fall Color
Chinese pistache, Wikimedia Commons
Leaves are so ubiquitous that it's easy to overlook all the benefits they provide – and the transition many experience. There's science behind a crimson burning bush (Euonymus), brilliant golden Ginkgo, or neon-orange Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).
Use our list of > PLANTS WITH VIBRANT AUTUMN COLOR
Ginkgo biloba tree leaves turn a bright yellow in fall. Jerry Wang, Unsplash
Leaves use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar, which we call photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, which makes leaves green, absorbs the light energy used in photosynthesis. As days grow shorter and temperatures cool, trees produce less chlorophyll and photosynthesis grinds to a stop. When that happens, pigments of yellow, orange, and brown in the leaves (called carotenoids) begin to show through. Some trees produce anthocyanins in their leaves, which glow red and purple.