ROD PLANCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROD PLANCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Macrophotograph of part of a Maple leaf, Acer sp., in autumn colours. The main leaf vein can be seen with veins branching diagonally from it, as is typical in dicotyledonous plants. These veins still contain green chlorophyll pigment. Smaller veins form a network across the leaf surface; these can no longer photosynthesize, they have lost their chlorophyll, and have turned red giving the leaf a many coloured appearance. The yearly leaf colour change and leaf fall (abscission) among deciduous trees such as in this maple begins with shorter daylight hours in autumn. Photosynthesis slows down and eventually halts with leaf senescence (leaf death).
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