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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences autumn

Dr. Universe: Why do leaves change colors?

Cartoon cat in a lab coat, Dr. Universe, studies plants under a microscope.Ever since I was a kitten, I’ve loved picking up big maple leaves in the fall. I’d take them home, put them under a piece of paper, and rub the side of a crayon over the top. It makes a great print of the leaf.

Leaves actually get their color from things called pigments. While scientists can use chemicals to make different crayon colors, nature can use pigments to create its own colors. » More …