Broken Glass Park
The Brightest Colours
"As days get shorter and chlorophyll production decreases, the yellow and orange carotenoids, which are always in leaves, appear as the green fades. But, red and purple leaves are the interesting ones.
As winter approaches, it would seem like a good time for trees to conserve energy, but some trees do the opposite. Instead of giving up, they spend extra energy producing anthocyanins to turn their leaves red and purple hues. These colours protect their leaves from sun damage before their nutrients can all be used and may also be a defense against insects looking for a parasitic home. A way for the tree to tell the insects, "Yes, I am in part, dying, but not without a fight. I am still very much vital.
Drought and even tourniquets applied by man can bring about these colours prematurely.
When you look at beautiful Autumn colours, you are looking at stress, but the bigger the fight the trees put up, the more energy they put into their defenses at the very end, the more brilliant their colours will be. Winter will eventually come, but scientifically, the brightest, deepest, most remarkable colours come from not giving up too easily or quickly."
- Vsauce, from his video "Mistakes."
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