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Title: Association of red coloration with senescence of sugar maple leaves in autumn
Author: Schaberg, P.G.; Murakami, P.F.; Turner, M.R.; Heitz, H.K.; Hawley, G.J.
Publication: Trees. 22: 573-578.
Key Words: anthocyanins, fall color, Acer saccharum, abscission zone, leaf retention
Abstract: We evaluated the association of red coloration with senescence in sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) leaves by assessing differences in leaf retention strength and the progression of the abscission layer through the vascular bundle of green, yellow, and red leaves of 14 mature open-grown trees in October 2002. Computer image analysis confirmed visual categorization of leaves as predominantly green, yellow or red, and chemical quantification of leaf pigment concentrations verified that leaf color reflected underlying differences in leaf biochemistry. Significantly lower chlorophyll concentrations within red and yellow leaves indicated that senescence was more advanced in leaves from these color categories relative to green leaves. Among leaf types, only red leaves contained high concentrations of anthocyanins. There were significant differences in leaf retention capacity among color categories, with the petioles of green leaves being the most firmly attached to twigs, followed by red and then yellow leaves.
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