Novembers glow of the autumnal lengthened nights
As the month of November delves deeper into the chilly seasons the beautiful landscapes are still filled with oranges and gold from the autumns wonders. Walking over crunchy leaves, picking up the perfectly shaped shiny brown conkers and filling your lungs with the fresh sharp brisk air.
Every autumn trees shed billions of tons of their leaves performing a spectacular show, greens turning to brilliant shades of yellow, orange and reds. Have you ever wondered how the leaves can transform into these colours only at this time of year?
The chemistry of autumns colours
Trees survive by the process of photosynthesis - remember the topic we studied in science class and can surprisingly still remember. This spectacle of green transforming into these beautiful colours which we would describe as ‘autumnal’ is due to trees having taken all the food they need from the leaves filled with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll aka the green pigment, absorbs the red and blue light from the sun that falls on leaves, which actually is reflected by the leaves. The leaf cells require warmth and light for its production so when the sunlight becomes weaker and less frequent the leaves stop making food, resulting in the green pigment being broken down into colourless compounds.
A source that explains this a little better via it’s beautiful infographics is Compound Interest. Science made simple.
As we say goodbye to summer and welcome autumn with open arms, it is chlorophyll we need to thank for making everything change colour.
So how about the vivid red, purple and magenta hues that we also see in the autumn? These are yet another compound in the flavonoid family ‘tree’. These colours are not present all year round, and the exact purpose of how this pigment is created isn’t known so make sure to enjoy their appearance when you can. Nature is a pleasure yet also stays a mystery.
Looking for new walking routes to discover? We found the National Trust website is sharing some of the best autumnal landscape walks near you: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/dazzling-displays-of-autumn-colour