Foliage Color Hereditary Pigment

September 24, 2013 by  

Foliage Color Hereditary Pigment, Can you tell me why when the leaves turn color in the fall, there are no blue leaves. We have virtually every other color of the spectrum, but no blue. There are purple and maroon leaves, and these two color have a component of blue in them, so there is blue pigment in there somewhere. But leaves are never blue. We do have blue in nature, such as blue flowers, so there are blue pigments. I am aware that the colors come from the pigments Carotenoids and Anthocyanins.

The purple comes from the anthocyanins. And that they are present year round, but masked by the chlorophyll (whose green also contains a component of blue, along with yellow) in summer. But I have been unable to determine why the color blue never appears by itself, as every other color does. I have done Internet searches (which is how I found your web site), but have never found anything addressing the lack of blue leaves. In addition to the chemical reason, I am also curious if there might be some evolutionary reason causing the chemistry that results in every color but blue (or prevents blue). A friend of mine (a former park naturalist) who was the first to whom I had inquired about this hypothesized that blue pigment might filter out a wavelength that the chlorophyll needs. So it would be evolutionarily BAD to be blue, if you wanted to photosynthesize.
Perhaps yellow pigment would not do that, for some reason, but blue pigment would.

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