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Re: anthocyanin

  • Subject: [iris-photos] Re: anthocyanin
  • From: "irischap" <irischapman@netscape.net>
  • Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 22:37:47 -0000
  • Content-length: 3165

--- In iris-photos@y..., oneofcultivars@a... wrote:
> 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
> open during the growing season. Lower light levels of fall tell the
> "time to start shuttin' and take off a few months" and the gate starts 
> closing, preventing the transfer of nutrients back and forth between
> roots and leaves via the trans-location of liquids. In circumstances
> 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
> 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

What I was understanding is that leaves of trees have cartoenoids and
anthocyanins (as a sub group of flavanols). There also is flavanol
precursers in the leaves. When the gate shuts down, the underlying
pigments, cartoenids and anthocyanins show. The yellow is the
cartoenoids. Some of the dying chrorophyl is converted by the flavanol
precursers into anthocyanins. Some leaves, such as red maple for
example, already have a large amount of anthocyanin present. The trees
in the northern region on Ontario definatly have more fall colour,
also a colder climate. 

There are several steps along the way in transforming the pigments
from one colour to the next. If any step is missed the next one can't
happen. I have some good articles on this but it will take several
reading to fully absorb as I have to learn the chemical names alomg
the way. The steps seem to be the same in all flowers as they are now
finding out. Theredefinatly are steps, gates, and triggers.

Chuck Chapman

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