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Autumn Foliage Rises from the Green Carpet of the Forest – Fall Is Here

September 21, 2016

Autumn Foliage Rises from the Green Carpet of the Forest   –   Fall  Is Here

Foliage tourism, a multibillion-dollar boon to the northeastern United States, is about to begin. So what are the trees up to?
The leaves of deciduous trees are in a frenzy as nights lengthen and cooler weather prevails, according to the U.S. Forestry Service. The structures of photosynthesis have to be dismantled, and all the energy possible has to be packed up and delivered to the trunk for its winter reserve.
That results in the exhilarating array of colors of the fall forests. The green of the leaf, from chlorophyll, breaks down, allowing the emergence of yellow-orange pigments already in the leaf (the same ones that give carrots and daffodils their color).
The result is beautiful, but all the changes render the leaf unstable and more vulnerable to solar rays than in the height of the summer.
The auburn, scarlet and ruby hues are caused by a chemical the leaf manufactures to help protect it from the sun. The same compound colors beets, raspberries and apples.
Halfway around the world, Japan is preparing for its own “leaf-peeping” season. Theirs, called momijigari, offers a fall parallel to spring’s cherry blossom festivals.
That is when, of course, the ruling color is a delicate pink.
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