Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Lies Beneath


Ever wondered why leaves turn such beautiful colors in the fall? In nature, there usually needs to be some benefit to the tree, and not just for our viewing pleasure. The latest thought is that the leaves don't really change color at all. The bright fall color that you see was always there, lurking in the background. It is only when the green from the chlorophyll disappears that you see the red, orange, or yellow underneath. Last fall, I found these leaves in different stages of turning, all from the same tree. Is it actually changing, or just revealing the red underneath as the green disappears? Hard to tell, isn't it? So now we know how, but why? Aphids. In the fall, aphids look for twigs to lay their eggs on, where they spend the winter, then feed on the tree and damage it in the spring. But these bugs don't like red, because the leaf fluid has a lower nutrient content. So the colorful leaves are telling these bugs to back off and go elsewhere. Scientists have not yet figured out why some leaves turn orange or yellow instead of red, but I love a good mystery, don't you? By the way, happy Fall!! This is the first day of Fall, though it doesn't start till after 11 p.m., so we will get less than an hour of it today.



"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:8

29 comments:

Krista said...

How interesting, Ginny! To be honest I never really contemplated the how or why. I always am just really happy that it happens. I love fall! :o)

Ann said...

Your header is so beautiful I don't remember our leaves are so crimson red. More burgundy red.

Did you say you make the moon cake? WOW!!!! put me to shame.

You are a great grandma.

reanaclaire said...

It is autumn now? those maple leaves.. right? saw a lot of them in Toronto last time..
U made mooncake? gosh..how did u do that.. i being an asian, i do the purchasing instead.. no home made ones.. too complicated for me..

SquirrelQueen said...

Interesting information Ginny. It's one of those things I remember studying but then decided to just enjoy the beautiful colors.

Your headers photos is gorgeous. Our leaves here are barely showing any color but it won't be long now.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Jane said...

Welcome, Fall! I learn something new every time I visit. Love the header picture as well!

Jane

Mildred said...

Hi Ginny and Happy Fall to you too! We had a record high yesterday (95). I hope cooler temps are on the way along with some colorful leaves. Enjoy your day.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

As I look out the hospital window I see the changing leaves and my mind thinks that this is the way of man.I feel like we may be facing the fall of life and this is hard.
Blessings,Ruth

Melanie said...

That is so interesting. I didn't know that about the aphids.
Happy Fall to you too! :)

Neal said...

Oh how beautiful!! Your header is absolutely gorgeous also.

RH (aka Lucy) said...

So incredible. But it doesn't surprise me at all. Nature can do almost everything for a purpose. It amazes me.

Sandra said...

this is great Ginny, i can sse the progression the green disppeearing. i really never thought about why, just knew they did it in the autumn. the leaves have to die, so whatever the process, they are in the last days of life on the tree when they turn orange or yellow, then they fall. God's plan is always perfect. we have a few trees here in FL that drop their leaves, but most of them stay green year round. trees that need cold seasons do not do well here. nature is truly fasicnating and this is a perfect lesson for us. thanks for sharing

From the Kitchen said...

Your blog is wearing my colors today! Since there seems to be some room for discussion (among the experts) as to when the autumnal equinox actually starts, I'm declaring it starts right now! Happy Fall!

Best,
Bonnie

Mary said...

You are a long range planner :-). To have taken photos last year that can be used with purpose this year is evidence of a well-ordered mind. I'm impressed. Have a great day, Ginny. Blessings...Mary

srp said...

My roses had white aphids... the ladybugs ate them. My milkweed has yellow aphids... no one seems to eat them. I wonder why.

I think the difference between the yellow and red leaves is just a difference in the chlorophyll. If you take a green leaf and mush it up and extract the chlorophyll and then do paper chromatography you can actually separate the different chlorophyl components. It is quite interesting.

Fred Alton said...

Fascinating! First time I've heard it explained this way. It's a lot like old age. In my view the true colors of a person are revealed as they grow older. It was there all the time - just covered up with lots of "green" activity. Thanks Ginny! Good one.

DawnTreader said...

I knew the change has to do with chlorophyll. I never heard of it having anything to do with aphids.

kanak7 said...

Happy First day of Fall! Loved reading about the changes in leaf color and the picture with the contrasts shown is lovely. Your header photo is stunning!

Arti said...

Oh yes... I love mysteries too!
Perhaps thats the reason I have those leaves as my blog background:)
Happy Fall to you too...

George said...

This is very interesting, and I'm sure it's scientifically correct, but I think I'll stick with the idea that the leaves 'change' color.
By the way, your header is gorgeous.

Rose said...

love your header. thanks for your comment on y post re my house. yes, it's strange we had a no. of people who knew our house. out town is about between 80-90,000thanks for sharing the info re the change of color with the leaves. have a great day. rose

Kilauea Poetry said...

What a lovely page for this new season! So colorful! "revealing the red underneath as the green disappears"
I say a little of both..seems everything is in constant flux huh..and creatures are aways at work- good thing. Up in the higher mountain elevation, the fall is striking with all the turning leaves. I will be up there camping for the first time in years. Hopefully there will be some sunshine. Enjoyable musings- as always..a beautiful header Ginny!
(My Autumn post is in my draft)(smile)-

Remington said...

Great post! Very interesting! Thank you!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy Autumn! It's is almost here!

The tree in your header is
stunning! I enjoy collecting colorful fall leaves. I didn't know that fact about red leaves..very interesting, Ginny!

Rose said...

back again. thanks for your comment re Berry College. Yes, it's a college with dorms . if you go to the web site i mentioned in my post or type in a search, Berry College rome ga. you will get a great view ofthe college. it was started by Martha Berry who wasvery religious. take care. rose

S. Etole said...

What an explosion of color in your banner ...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Ginny, OH--how I love that header... You know that RED trees are my fav's. That one is fabulous.... Wow!!!!!

What is happening to some of our trees bothers me so much... The leaves are just turning brown, dying and falling off.... It's just so sad. We desperately need rain.

Great post about the trees --and their colors.
Hugs,
Betsy

wildlifewatcher said...

A quite nicely written post today Ginny! Happy Autumn!

ruthi said...

i also wonder why the leaves change color in fall when i get here but i was too fascinated with the visual and no time to think. what i know is that it is so beautiful. we don't have 4 seasons where i came from. we only know wet and dry seasons. so the changing seasons for me is a welcome change and i love it. fall is my favorite followed by spring, then winter and last is summer... because i don't like hot weather despite the fact that i was used to it.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

I had no idea and this sure has intrigued me to no end. I will sure dig deeper into this. How did you know I was interested in stuff like this... Awesome!