What is Green? Thinking like a scientist –

Wow – colors can tell us so much if we are looking closely and do a bit of reading.  Last week after making my color wheel in my science notebook and drawing leaves I started reading about why leaves have different colors.  There are lots of articles to read on why leaves change color in the fall but I wanted to know about the different greens we see in the summer.

I learned there are many factors that can effect the shade of a leaf.  One of those factors is where the plant grows.  Is the plant growing in full sun or is it in the shade with low light?  If your plant is in bright sun the green may be lighter.  If it is sitting in the woods or under a big tree it has adapted to its environment so it can capture the low light.  This plant may be a darker shade of green.

Leaf age can also change the color pattern.  Young leaves are often a lighter shade of green than a fully mature leaf on the same plant.  The older leaf has its full set of photosynthetic pigments which helps to make the leaf darker in tone.  (Photosynthesis is the process the leaf uses to turn water, carbon dioxide and chlorophyll into food for the plant.)

A third factor for leaf color can be the design of a leaf.  Is the leaf thick or thin?  Is it a succulent ( like a cactus) or non-succulent?

Take time to walk around the garden, your neighborhood or yard and look at the leaves closely.  What shade of green are they?  Where are they living – under a tree or in the full sun?    While you are walking in Eloise Butler Wildflower garden or another park take notes in your science journal and use your colored pencils to record the shades of green you see.   If you know the names of the flowers or plants record that information as well.  (Remember to always put the days date and the weather in your journal as you begin documentation.)

What shades of green did you see in the wooded areas?  Did the greens change when walking down in the swamp land or up on the prairie?

After your walk you might want to stop by the library and do your own reading on plants.   Two books to look for are Eyewitness Plant (DK Eyewitness Boo) by David Burnie and Growing Patters by Sarah C Campbell but  I know with a little careful looking you will find lots more to read.  If you find a good book you would like to share with us please leave us a note in the comments section at the bottom of the post. We would love to know what you are reading this summer about plants.

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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1 Response to What is Green? Thinking like a scientist –

  1. This is a thoughtful journey into the natural world. I love looking at the variations of color in the landscape.


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