Chemistry of Fall Colors
In autumn, as the green color of leaves fades, other vibrant colors become the main attraction. What’s the chemistry that makes it happen?
- Find the Hidden Colors of Autumn Leaves
Analyze different colored leaves to see what they reveal with paper chromatography.
- Plant Pigment Chromatography
Spinach, a coin, and some chromatography. We see the green color, but are there more?
- Home and Garden pH Indicators
Anthocyanins and other chemicals provide beauty lurking in leaves. They can also reveal pH. Check your fridge and yard for options!
- Black Bean Indicator
Anthocyanins are in more places than you might think. Instead of just tree leaves, they might also be in your dinner.
- Making Natural Dyes from Plants
Leaves, twigs, roots, and more can color your cloth. Head outside to collect, then dye it up.
- Leaf Rubbing Activity: Art & Science Project
Bring in the younger crowd with these picture books and lots of ways to try a leaf rubbing. Can they match the colors they see on each leaf?
- pH Paper with Cabbage
Get arty with anthocyanins. Make indicator paper, then paint on acids and bases to create your masterpiece.
- Watch Leaves Change Color in a Matter of Seconds
Slow? No! This time-lapse video gives you a sped up view of leaves changing color.
- The Chemicals Behind the Colours of Autumn Leaves
Red, orange, yellow. Which compounds give us these lovely leaf hues?
- Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
There’s a rainbow hiding inside. What are the factors that finally reveal the colors?
- Chemical of the Week: The Chemistry of Autumn Colors
Admire the photos of fall as you learn about the chemistry that makes it happen.
- Fall Colors Arriving
You don’t need to be close up to see autumn arrive. Check out this satellite view from space.
- The Science Behind Fall Foliage
If a tree is a factory, what are the leaves? Use this explanation to understand the science in a different way.
- Leaf Peep for Science
Old photos from citizen scientists can hold the key for environmental researchers.
- Science of Fall Colors
The Forest Service knows trees. Get the scoop on connections between trees, their leaf colors, weather, and more.
- A Rainbow of Fall Leaves
This rainbow has different colors than you know, but just as beautiful.
(all sites accessed August 2021)