Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Short Subjects: True Colors

How much we have enjoyed the American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) we planted in our yard this past spring! Here it is seen from above in all its autumn glory.

American Hornbeam, New Haven, CT – October, 2013

These magnificent colors have been there all the time, masked by the chlorophyll (green pigment) in the leaves that is so plentiful during the long, warm, days of summer. As the chlorophyll synthesis drops off during the waning daylight hours of autumn, the hornbeam leaf reveals its true colors of orange and yellow.

For more on the science behind autumn color, check out this blog post by Joan Allen, plant diagnostician and pathologist at the University of Connecticut’s Home and Garden Center. Teachers will enjoy the classroom experiment at the end of her post.

Have a nice weekend. Enjoy the fall colors while you can!

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

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