Summary of Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall

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In Diane Ackerman’s “Why leaves turn color in the fall”, she describes how the seasons give way to fall and how the leaves began to change color. She goes into detail on the chemical and scientific process of this change as well as the difference in color among the species of plants in many parts of the world. She even makes a metaphorical reference that the fall colors signal death and goes on to explain how death brings new life in the end.

She gives us plenty of information on the chemical and scientific process of how the leaves began to change color. She explains that process of color change is directly controlled by the sun’s light. Towards the end of summer the trees start to pull the nutrients back into its trunk and starve off the leaves. As those leaves began to starve, they stop producing the pigment chlorophyll which gives the leaves their green color. The leaves began to show yellow and red as the chlorophyll breaks down. With no pigment being produced, all the leaves will turn color over time. She tells us that there is a pigment called Anthocyanin, which causes the leaves to turn red. This pigment varies from year to year depending on the temperature and sunlight.

She informs that us that this phenomenon occurs all over the world and explains that different trees and species of plants in other parts of the world change to different colors do to the climate. Where as in European maples don’t have the red coloring that the American maples have because it’s a warmer in part of the world then the other. So in Europe the warm, humid weather turns the leaves more of a brown or light yellow color. She gives many references to many different types of plants and the colors they change to. Elms and weeping willows turn a bright yellow, whereas Basswood turns bronze and birches a bright golden color. She makes reference to the sun as the cause of this change by explaining that one side of hill might have color and not the other cause of...
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