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Reports are given every fall, informing tourists of the period when mountain forest leaves will be at their peak color. Predicting this peak, however, is impossible, according to former U.S. Forest Service employees Arnold and Connie Krochmal. Color change in leaves varies by species and by individual tree, and the Krochmal's argue that elevation has no affect on the timing of a tree's color change. Leaves that change from green to yellow or orange are experiencing a physical change as the green chlorophyll dies. When this happens, the yellow colors that were present are able to be seen, as they are no longer masked by the leaf's green pigments. Leaves that change from green to a red or a purple are undergoing a chemical change, as plant foods stored in the leaf are converted to different compounds known as anthocyanins.
The State (NoCar F 251 S77), Vol. 51 Issue 4, Sept 1983, p8-9, por
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