Basic Science

Why are the leaves of some plants not green in colour?

 Why are the leaves of some plants not green in colour?

Green leaves can be found everywhere but there are other leaves colours too like Red, purple, yellow or blue. Colourful leaves we get to see because of different types of pigments present in the leaves. There are basically three primary pigments. High concentration of Chlorophyll in leaves gives it the green colour, Carotenoids gives yellow or yellow-orange and Anthocyanins gives red or purple colour to leaves.  Leaves of other colours also contain chlorophyll are hidden under the non-green pigments so they can prepare their foods.

What is the colour of the leaves? Obviously the answer is green. Normally we see the plants with green leaves around us. But there are also some plants with red, yellow or purple leaves. Generally these types of plants are used as ornamental plants. Different colour of leaves is due to the different types of pigments present in the leaves.

There are three kinds of primary pigments in the plant leaves. These pigments give different colour to the leaves. They are chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Chlorophyll : Leaves are of green colour due to chlorophyll. Green leaves contain chlorophyll in high concentration. Most of the plant leaves are green.

Carotenoids : The leaves containing carotenoid pigment in high concentration appears yellow or yellow-orange.

 

Anthocyanins: When leaves contain high concentration of anthocyanin pigments, the leaves appear red or purple in colour.

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We know that chlorophyll is needed to make food in leaves for the plants. But leaves of other colours like red, yellow or purple also contain chlorophyll hidden under the non-green pigments. So non-green leaves also, can make foods for plants, as they contain chlorophyll.

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Susmita Dasgupta

Susmita is a trained, veteran primary school teacher. She loves to teach and to make learning exciting for children. One of her great passions in life is to create in her students a curiosity about life and all its accompanying mysteries.

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