Why Does Fall Foliage Turn So Red and Fiery? It Depends.

Why Does Fall Foliage Turn So Red and Fiery? It Depends.

By JOANNA KLEIN OCT. 25, 2016

 Treetops near Song Mountain in Tully, N.Y., last week. Credit Lauren Long/The Syracuse Newspapers, via Associated Press

Leaves scream their final cries in color before dropping to the ground. Their shouts — in golden, crimson or scarlet — eventually fade to brown bellows, and their lifeless bodies dry up on the forest floor. It absorbs their crinkly corpses and that’s it — worm food. The fall of a leaf in autumn is an orchestrated death. A complex, brilliant, beautiful death.

Right now across the United States, fall foliage season is peaking, and everyone’s out to get a peep at the fiery show. Hiking trails are crowded. Mountain roads are packed, and leaf cams are getting lots of love. When you think of it as watching the death of leaves, it sounds morbid, but it’s captivating nonetheless. Does the way some turn red in the process serve any purpose? Read more.