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Daylight Savings and Pistachio Orchards: The science of autumn leaves changing hues


Botanical shifts of the season are hugely present in the ARO Pistachio orchards as sun-filled Fall days work scientific magic. Pistachio leaves are well along in their process shifting from deep lush greens to golden yellows and bronzes. Lesser hours of sunlight deprive the chlorophyll capacity of deciduous leaves, unmasking other pigments.

Paraphrasing The Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, leaf cells contain chloroplasts that are organelles converting light into energy via plant pigments that absorb various wavelengths of light. During spring and summer these pigments are mostly green pigments, aka chlorophyll. Layered under the chlorophyll, however, other colors of pigment surface during light deprivation. In Fall, when temperatures also shift to cooler temperatures, chlorophyll production decreases while other pigments increase. Noteworthy, not all leaves shift hues through the following stages going directly to brown.

GREENS = chlorophyll pigments, present during photosynthesis 

YELLOWS & ORANGES = Carotenoid pigments (Aspens & Poplars)

REDS & PURPLES = Anthocyanin pigments, produced during fall by sugar chemical reactions dependent on Anthocyanidins (Present in Maples)

BROWNS = Tannins (Present in Beech Oaks)

Discover the botanical chemistry correlations among leaf hues in the Fall as illustrated in the following video by Scientific American.


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