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How Do Plants Get Their Color, and Why?

Jan 5

Have you ever wondered how plants receive their colour, why they have different colours, why they change colour in the fall, or why they have colour at all? It's an interesting topic that Fort Worth Landscapers would love to answer for you, in part because the solution is more complicated than you may expect! The lovely colours we see in flowers and leaves are produced by pigments. However, a number of other factors combine to produce colourful interior plants as well as outdoor plants with vibrant flowers and leaves. Let's examine how and why plants have colour as well as the varied and inventive ways that humans have exploited plant pigments.

 

Understanding Pigments

Pigments are substances that selectively absorb some visible light wavelengths while reflecting other ones per Fort Worth Landscapers. The plant's outermost layer, or epidermis, contains many layers that contain pigment-containing plant cells. The colour that is perceived depends on the type and quantity of pigment present, the thickness of these cell layers, and other factors. Lawn Care Fort Worth pros have listed the pigments frequently discovered in plants:

  • Chlorophyll. The pigment that gives leaves their green colour is called chlorophyll. It aids plants in the process of photosynthesis, which turns light into energy, and is located in the chloroplasts of plant cells. In contrast to reflecting green wavelengths of light, chlorophyll absorbs red and blue ones.
  • Carotenoids. Another form of pigment found in plants is called a carotenoid. These yellow, orange, or red pigments give the leaves their autumnal hues. Plant cells' chromoplasts contain carotenoids. They reflect yellow, orange, and red light while absorbing blue and green light.
  • Anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which are pigments that dissolve in water, are what give flowers their blue, purple, or red hues. All light wavelengths, with the exception of blue, which they reflect, can be absorbed by them, which are present in the vacuoles of plant cells.
  • Betalains. Beets and other plants have a red or yellow colour because of pigments called betalains. They can absorb all visible light wavelengths, with the exception of red and yellow, which they reflect. They are present in the vacuoles of plant cells.

 

Why Plants Have Different Colors

Why then do plants differ in colour? Let Fort Worth Landscapers answer that question for you! The quantity and distribution of various pigments within plant cells determines the various colours that plants display. Different pigment combinations can be seen in action when flowers bloom or plants change colour in the autumn. The colour of the plant will show up more brightly the more dominating a certain pigment is. For instance, plants with high anthocyanin concentrations will have a crimson or purple appearance because of the quantity of this pigment. Seasonal fluctuations can also affect pigment levels, which allows some plants to change colour. If you've ever wondered why plants change colour in the fall, Fort Worth Landscapers tells you to stop wondering now!

 

How Humans Have Used Plant Colors

Lawn Care Fort Worth Pros knows that plants have been utilised for millennia to produce colours, herbal remedies, and aesthetics. Actually, some of the earliest colours were created using plants! Other frequent applications for plant hues include:

  • Dyes. Plant dyes have been used to colour leather, hair, and even fabric. Plants can also be used to make food colouring, which is frequently a healthier alternative to other types.
  • Natural remedies. Herbal remedies have been made from plants for ages. Various diseases can be treated using the active components in plants. For instance, willow tree bark has been used to relieve inflammation and pain. Colds and respiratory illnesses have been treated using eucalyptus tree leaves in the past. Additionally, chamomile flowers have been used to alleviate insomnia and anxiety.
  • Aesthetics. People have utilised plants throughout history to provide colour to architecture, paint, stained glass, and a variety of other things. The ancient Egyptians employed plant colours to make cosmetics and remedies.