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Re: Re: anthocyanin

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: anthocyanin
  • From: oneofcultivars@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 09:41:58 EST
  • Content-length: 2085

Chuck, I have some understanding of fall leaf colors in deciduous trees. I 
once became curious about why the northeast often had more intense fall 
colors than the South. The following may contain some misinformation but is 
basically correct. The anthocyanin is present in the leaves, as are all the 
other color producing pigments, at maturity. They are however masked by the 
chlorophyl production in the leaf. At the base of the leaf stem there is a 
gate (don't recall the name) that is triggered by light. Gate is normally 
open during the growing season. Lower light levels of fall tell the tree 
"time to start shuttin' and take off a few months" and the gate starts 
closing, preventing the transfer of nutrients back and forth between the 
roots and leaves via the trans-location of liquids. In circumstances where 
the late summer and early fall months are dry, trees start closing the gate 
to conserve moisture (life) regardless of the degree of natural light and 
reduce or cease chlorophyl production. Ultimately when the gate closes the 
fall color determinant is the amount of chlorophyl remaining in the leaf. As 
chlorophyl dies it turns brown. Under dryer conditions, less is present and 
hence more intense fall color. Northeast often gets less moisture at critical 
times than southeast. Mystery solved.

I know not how this will ultimately relate to flowers (iris) but I view 
flowers as special purpose leaves. We see indication of the similarity 
between tree leaves and iris as the blooms die.

If in your research you come across information concerning the "gate" at the 
base of the flower I would appreciate any sharing of info you choose to do.

Thanking you in advance,
Bill Burleson
Old South Iris Society

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