The autumn leaf is toast, but it still redecorates
A leaf turning red in the fall makes for a much greater mystery than a leaf turning yellow does. The yellowing signals simply a dropping of veils because the yellow pigment has lain hidden in the leaf during its long, green summer. When summer ends and the green pigments break down, the yellow shines through. Reds, however, don't loll around all summer. A leaf with only a few weeks left to hang on its tree summons its faltering resources for a burst of bright-red-pigment making.