|MadSci Network: Botany|
This has certainly been an interesting question to research! The answer seemed to be all over the place all over the Internet. The answers range from yes, to no, to maybe. You can also say yes, but... or no, but...
However I'll try to give some explanation. Melanin in animals is
sometimes compared to chlorophyll in plants since they are both able to
absorb the sun's energy. Some people consider the brown and black pigments
in plants to be plant melanins. The article by Sava, V. M., S.-M. Yang, et
al. (2001). “Isolation and characterization of melanic pigments derived
from tea and tea polyphenols.” Food Chemistry 73(2): 177-184., gives a
good explanation of how to isolate and characterize these pigments from
green tea. You might also find the websites listed below beneficial to
answering your question. There is still some controversy over whether
these pigments in plants are analogous to melanin in animals, however.
[Moderator's Note: We have at least one answer in our archives (1231186843.Bt) that addresses the issues of melanin and plant protection against UV damage. -- Steve Mack]
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Botany.