Autumn leaf color is a phenomenon that affects the normal green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs by which they take on, during a few weeks in the autumn season, various shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. The phenomenon is commonly called autumn colours or autumn foliage in British English and fall colors, fall foliage, or simply foliage in American English. In some areas of Canada and the United States, 'leaf peeping' tourism is a major contribution to economic activity. This tourist activity occurs between the beginning of color changes and the onset of leaf fall, usually around September and October in the Northern Hemisphere and April to May in the Southern Hemisphere. Chlorophyll and the green/yellow/orange colors A green leaf is green because of the presence of a pigment known as chlorophyll, which is inside an organelle called a chloroplast. When abundant in the leaf's cells, as during the growing season, the chlorophyll's green color dominates and masks out the colors of any other pigments that may be present in the leaf. Thus, the leaves of summer are characteristically green. Chlorophyll has a vital function: it captures solar rays and uses the resulting energy in the manufacture of the plant's food simple sugars which are produced from water and carbon dioxide. These sugars are the basis of the plant's nourishment the sole source of the carbohydrates needed for growth and development. In their food-manufacturing process, the chlorophylls break down, thus are being continually 'used up'. During the growing season, however, the plant replenishes the chlorophyll so that the supply remains high and the leaves stay green.
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