Autumn Leaves and Their Colors

Autumn leaves, or fall leaves, are beautiful to see. What gives autumn leaves their color?

Autumn leaves are decked out in crimson, bronze, golden yellow and many other colors. Many people living in temperate climates look forward to seeing autumn leaves.

Image by Clearly Ambiguous via Flickr

Autumn colors such as the golden yellow of Aspen trees and brilliant scarlet of Red Maple trees are caused by the presence of certain chemicals within the leaves of the trees. Autumn leaves inspire photographers and other artists.

Photo Credit- Babelicious Giggles via Flickr

Photo Credit- Freedom via Flickr

Carotenoid Pigments

Some autumn leaves are brown. Some autumn leaves are yellow and orange. These colors are caused by carotenoids- the same chemicals found in fruits such as bananas, oranges and carrots and in animals such as pink flamingoes.

Photo Credit- Dranidis via Flickr

 Trees use carotenoids to absorb blue light energy. Carotenoids also have another function-they help to keep chlorophyll stable by preventing it from being damaged by light.

Anthocyanin Pigments

Autumn leaves contain lovely reds and purples. These colors are caused by anthocyanins. The rich color of plums, strawberries, blueberries, cherries and cranberries is also due to anthocyanins.

Photo Credit- Blond Powers via Flickr

Anthocyanins allow trees to take back nutrients from their leaves before they fall.

In autumn, while the days are warm, the nights are cooler, so more sugars are retained in the leaves. This causes the tree to increase production of anthocyanins, so more anthocyanins are produced in autumn.

Carotenoids are always present in leaves but as the days get shorter and colder, the production of the chlorophyll which gives plants their green color slows down and stops. When there is less green, the other colors in the leaves become more pronounced.

Trees That Lose Their Leaves

Autumn leaves are shed from some trees because their leaves are tender and can’t last through a cold winter. Evergreens and other trees which don’t lose their leaves contain chemicals that prevent the leaves from freezing in winter. A thick wax coating also protects the leaves of those trees.

Autumn Leaves-Popular Viewing Spots around the World

Autumn leaves attract attention and many residents enjoy traveling to popular destinations in their area that have the best display of autumn leaves. Johnston’s Canyon in Canada is well known for its spectacular display of autumn leaves. Kyoto in Japan is a popular spot where families, friends or couples gather to see autumn leaves.

Image by Clearly Ambiguous via Flickr

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53 Responses to “Autumn Leaves and Their Colors”
  1. Mr Ghaz Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Nice one..I like the first picture..looks cool..very interesting and well presented articles..thanks for this :)


  2. deedaG50 Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    love the pictures. the feel of autumn through these colors is very stimulating. love the way you captured it.


  3. Brewed Coffee Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    This is what I always think about when we think of autumn…the colorful leaves. We don’t have autumn here in the tropics but I as I look in pictures depicting this season, I can’t help but be mesmerized by nature’s transformation. Really beautiful :-)


  4. lyan08 Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    beautiful.


  5. yes me Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    You have inspired me to mix colours, as every thing is so white now… cheers for that Sharifa.


  6. Yovita Siswati Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Autumn colors are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


  7. PSingh1990 Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Nice Share.

    :-)


  8. dino renaldo Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    nice share.thanks


  9. Love Nancy Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Well Written….!!! Thanks.


  10. buenavida Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Great article, we also see the huge variety of colors in the end of September.


  11. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    i love the beautiful autumn leaves but ours are long gone. It’s 19 degrees out there tonight.


  12. LCM Linda Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    The photos comparing the different colors of the leaves are beautiful. I always find it fantastic to walk under the sun with trees having yellow, orange leaves and the ground is covered by fallen leaves.


  13. crisdiwata Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I guess it is a wonderful feeling seeing those autumn leaves in actual for we don\’t have autumn here. The pictures were really nice.


  14. Inna Tysoe Says...

    On December 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Well done & good use of pictures


  15. Anuradha Ramkumar Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Wonderful pics. Very well written.


  16. Sharif Ishnin Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Autumn is lovely with its warm colors. I guess its nature’s way of beautifying the landscape.


  17. Sweet girl Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 6:16 am

    My new blog reached 32 submissions in the end and I have still 16 followers..

    I read your articles. Your still is good and publishings are interesting..

    Here is my blog with 32 articles..

    Here is my blog with unique articles


  18. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Thanks Mr. Ghaz.


  19. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Thank you Deeda. I like autumn colors and I am glad the article carries the look of autumn.


  20. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Hi Brewed.
    There is beauty in each season but the colors make autumn special in its own way.


  21. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Hi Lyan.


  22. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Matt, I hope you get some interesting colors.
    Hi Yovita. They are beautiful.
    Thanks Dino.


  23. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Thanks Love Nancy.
    Buena, I would like to visit your side of the world one day.
    Ruby it’s pretty cold over here too. Are you having snow now?


  24. Freethinking Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Beautiful article. New York State has some of the best autumn views I’ve seen. Vermont State is even prettier. Ah, but alas those autumn days have moved on to the long, cold and snowy season of winter.


  25. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Hi Linda. It’s a relaxing experience for me too.
    Hi Cris. In Japan I experience a few things I don’t in Jamaica. Some, like the cold, I could do without ;-) However the autumn colors are something beautiful.


  26. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Thanks Inna.
    Thanks Anu.
    The trees get dressed up Sharif :-)


  27. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Freethinking, I wish we could just skip straight to spring. lol


  28. LewSethics Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Cool, Sharifa, I like those autumn leaves, but as I look out of my window all I see is white, as we got snowed in the last couple of days.


  29. margaridab Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I love autumn colors! It’s a pity they don’t last longer!


  30. lillyrose Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Beautifully presented article. I love Autumn and all the lovely stages and changes to the leaves, I love the noise of autumn too.


  31. albert1jemi Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    well written


  32. 1hopefulman Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Right now, here, everything is white because we just had about 12 inches of snow and the trees are all bare underneath the white stuff. But we did have a gorgeous fall and my head is full of memories of the beautiful colors. Thanks for writing this article and giving us the explanations for all the beautiful colors. And thanks to God for such a beautiful design so that all the colors exist!


  33. CA Johnson Says...

    On December 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    These leaves are really beautiful. I have seen many colors in my yard, but I didn’t know what the colors meant or anything else you provided about the leaves. Thanks for sharing.


  34. gaby7 Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 5:47 am

    I liked these pictures! A well presented article!


  35. Luna Morena Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    In Ecuador our leaves are always green… I hope someday I could see the autum colors.


  36. Starpisces Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

    You made Autumn seems more beautiful with your beautiful write/pics.


  37. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks Star ;-)


  38. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Sounds cold Lew, some countries have been hit by heavy snow in the past week.


  39. wonder Says...

    On December 11, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Wow! work of an artistic writer.


  40. WordSlingerUno Says...

    On December 11, 2010 at 4:38 am

    informative.i luv autumn leaves.


  41. Likha Says...

    On December 11, 2010 at 4:49 am

    It’s awesome people here talking about winter and autumn while things are different in this side of the world. It is such a diverse and colorful world we live in. Great work.


  42. scheng1 Says...

    On December 11, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Sigh, too bad we dont have autumn here. I need to fly to temperate countries to experience the beauty of autumn.


  43. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 12, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friends ;-)


  44. JoniJones Says...

    On December 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Great info, thanks


  45. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    You’re welcome.


  46. Michal Dorcak Says...

    On December 14, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Interesting article. I knew some of this stuff, but certainly nt all of it.


  47. K Kristie Says...

    On December 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I love the colors of autumn, makes me feel nostalgic.


  48. nz2rdfox Says...

    On December 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    cool colors and pictures as well…one of the beauties of nature..great post:)


  49. Raj the Tora Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 1:08 am

    such a beautiful spectrum. Who else, other than nature, can paint these hues. :)


  50. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On January 1, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Hi Michal.


  51. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On January 1, 2011 at 12:31 am

    @JK
    At autumn the place seems like something for a fairytale.


  52. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On January 1, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Glad you liked it Nz.


  53. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On January 1, 2011 at 12:35 am

    The colors are certainly beautiful Raj, and all God’s creatures experience them differently. I wonder what they look like to creatures who can see some of the colors that we can’t see.


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