Colors in the grocery store

Below you’ll see three pictures of the same bunch of bananas. The pictures were taken over the course of several days. In these pictures you see a graphic example of how the leaves change colors.

In the first picture we see a freshly picked bunch of bananas. Here the chlorophyll is abundant. As the days shorten in the forest the tree will develop a layer of cells between the branch and the leaf. This layer of cells will effectively cut the leaf off from the water necessary to continue the production of chlorophyll. And like the freshly picked bananas, for a time. the leaf will continue to show green.

Bananas: Day 1Green Aspen leaves

In the second picture you see the bunch of bananas a few of days after it was picked. Now the chlorophyll is starting to degrade and the yellow carotenoids are beginning to show through. In the forest the leaves on the trees are going through the same process. Now that the production of chlorophyll has been halted. The yellow and orange carotenoids are giving the forest a new look.

Bananas: Day 3Golden Aspens

In the final banana picture you’ll notice that virtually all of the chlorophyll is gone leaving a bunch of yellow bananas. You’ll also notice that small bits of brown are starting to appear on the bananas. Again, this corresponds with what’s going on with the leaves in the forest. Once the chlorophyll has completely broken down in the leaves the only colors remaining are the yellows and oranges of the carotenoids. But there are also sugars trapped in the leaves that will now change into anthocyanin giving the leaves some red highlights. Additionally, waste trapped in the leaves will produce a brown color. Because of the difference in genetic makeup in each tree and a variety of weather conditions you’ll find a wide range of colors in forests that may have only one tree that changes colors. In the case of the Markagunt Plateau that tree is the Aspen.

Bananas: Day 7Aspen with a variety of colors

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