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Did You Notice ...
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The tulip leaves look reddish when they come out of the ground. Bigger plants are a green color. Did you notice that the tulips are all different heights?

Why are the leaves different colors?
Inside a plant leaf you find cells that contain pigments. Pigments are chemicals, like paints that make the leaves different colors. The kind of pigment in a leaf determines its color. Red pigments are called anthocyanins (an·tho·cy'·a·nins). Green pigments are called chlorophylls (chlo'·ro·phyls).

In the newly emerging tulip leaves, changes in temperature and light can trigger the red pigment or color. This is why they look red.

Seasonal changes in the fall can affect the plant's colors. In the fall the weather becomes cooler, the nights are longer, and the light is different. These changes affect leaves and allow us to see the other colors that were masked by the green chlorophyll pigments during the growing season.

 

emerging in colors
Photo: Teri Bickmore

reddish tips emerging
Photo: Cynthia Cartwright

pigments in leaves
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