Prepare yourselves, fellow New Yorkers. It’s almost near-peak fall foliage season! My favorite time of year. Why do leaves change color in autumn, you ask? Most leaves on deciduous trees contain chlorophyll, the green pigment involved in photosynthesis. During the growing season, chlorophyll is continually replenished in the leaves. Not so in autumn. As winter (read: Elf season) nears, days get shorter and leaves are exposed to fewer hours of sunlight. Trees stop producing chlorophyll, and the pigment in the leaves begins to break down, revealing carotenoid (yellow, orange, brown) and producing anthocyanin (red) pigments. But take in those brilliant reds while you can. Anthocyanin pigment production may diminish in the not-so-distant future as a result of climate change.
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