MadSci Network: Botany

Re: If chlorophyll absorbs all the colors but green, why are some plant

Date: Sun Dec 10 17:35:43 2006
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 1165779876.Bt

Purple, red or blue-leaved plants, such as purple cabbage, red Japanese maple
and blue Colorado spruce, usually contain large amounts of anthocyanin pigments
that mask the green chlorophyll. A common student lab exercise involves
extracting water soluble anthocyanins from purple cabbage to make a pH indicator.

Yellow-leaved plants usually contain large amounts of carotenoid pigments that
mask the green chlorophyll.

Green leaves usually contain large amounts of yellow carotenoid pigments that
are masked by the green chlorophyll. In the fall, many leaves turn yellow
because the green chlorophyll degrades to reveal the yellow carotenoids that
were there all season.

A widespread misconception in biology teaching is that green plant leaves
reflect all the green light they receive. However, green leaves often absorb
about half the green light they receive and use it in photosynthesis. Green
leaves are green because they reflect more green light than other colors.


Hershey, D.R. 2004. Avoid misconceptions when teaching about plants

Re: How much light does chlorophyl absorb? How much other materials?

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