Leaves..the crown that makes trees look so beautiful.
Leaves are ‘food – factories’ of the trees. They use 3 ingredients – Sunshine, water and carbon dioxide and cook up plant food. There is a special name for this cooking process – photosynthesis. I bet you clever kids must already know this 🙂
If I ask you, what makes the leaves green – I am quite sure you kids would tell me it’s because of the chlorophyll.
But, here’s what I really want to ask – If chlorophyll makes leaves green and all leaves have it, then, why are young leaves light green and older leave dark shade of green? And how do leaves of the same tree start off pink and end up green?
The answer to ‘what makes the color of a leaf?’ is one word – pigments
Pigments are particles that give colour to leaves, fruits and even your skin.
Leaves normally have 4 kinds of pigments –
Each leaf,depending on where the tree grows and what season it is, will have different colors. Here, take a look
Chlorophyll is the pigment that you would have heard of most. That’s because all the food that the tree needs is prepared with the help of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is present inside the food factory in a leaf. The factory is called chloroplast. It’s the chlorophyll that soaks in sunshine and helps turn it into energy for the tree.
Have you thought about this – whenever you family cooks you a meal of green veggies, you are eating chlorophyll too! Green veggies – chlorophyll to be exact, are filled with Vitamins and minerals. Spinach, methi, moringa, mustard leaves, Basil all have chlorophyll!
In seasons when sun is shining bright, Chlorophyll is high at work, soaking up as much sun as it can. Chloroplasts are fast at work too,cooking up as much food as they can.
This is why during Spring and Summer, when there is a lot of sunlight, plants make a lot of chlorophyll. As the seasons change, some parts of the world get less sunshine. This is when Chloroplasts go into holiday mode, like your school starts shutting down for vacations. As chlorophyll goes away, other pigments start to show their colours, making leaves turn yellow, orange or red, which were all green earlier.
In India, we mostly see tropical weather year round. So the sun is shining bright almost all year. But if you can, plan a visit to high mountains of North Eastern India or Northern India in the months of September, October or February and March. The colors of leaves would leave you awestruck.
Was that as fascinating for you as it was for me?
Now, hereahere a few activities that you could try –
- You must have seen different kind of leaves around you. Can you send me pictures of a few?
- Can you tell me what this is :
- Can you tell me a place you have been where you saw leaves of different colors?
- I also want to know something – why does chlorophyll make the leaf look green, why not purple or blue! (Hint – Something to do with reflecting green color)
You could use your journal to draw or write about these leaves. Don’t forget to send me pictures!
Until next time!