These amazing offbeat autumn leaves illustrate nature’s propensity for infinite variation of shape, form and color over the course of countless season cycles.
Somewhere Undergrowth the Rainbow
Spring and summer leaves appear green because they’re infused with chlorophyll – a solar-powered pigment plants use to convert water and CO2 into nutritious simple sugars. In autumn, however, plants stop replenishing the chlorophyll in their leaves. The green pigment then decays into colorless chemical compounds, revealing the yellow xanthophyll and orange beta-carotine pigments that were there all along! At the same time, the plant synthesizes red anthocyanin pigments, resulting in a virtual rainbow of shades synonymous with the advent of autumn. (images at top and above via Luke Jones)
Winter is Coming
A forecast of things to come? Count on Mother Nature to be unpredictable… and for intrepid and/or lucky photographers to capture these aberrations. Take the surreal and spectral white sycamore leaf above; definitely an autumn leaf of a different color! Technically speaking, the leaf isn’t colorless as what appears white to our eyes is actually a combination of ALL the colors in the visible spectrum. (image via Margot Swift)
Sure, autumn isn’t for everyone and the apparent mass die-off of outdoor plant life can be depressing for some. For those sensitive souls (and with apologies to Groundhog Day’s Phil Connors), we give you this: When Chekhov saw the long autumn, he saw an autumn bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that autumn is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of (enter your town’s name here) and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous autumn. (image via Hans Splinter)
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