Quiz about The Colors of Autumn
Quiz about The Colors of Autumn

The Colors of Autumn Trivia Quiz


One of my favorite memories of growing up in New England was the fabulous fall foliage. The brilliant colors often associated with trees in autumn are no less beautiful when you know why they appear.

A photo quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
5 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
371,783
Updated
Feb 02 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
2241
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 216 (10/10), Guest 199 (8/10), Guest 174 (8/10).
photo quiz
1. The leaves of this maple tree are yellow because of the presence of what class of chemicals in the leaves? Hint

Carotenoids
Xanthoids
Chlorophylls
Nitrates

photo quiz
2. The red color in these leaves comes from the presence of anthocyanins. Aside from the difference in color, what is a significant difference between these chemicals and those that produce a yellow color (in leaves that change color in autumn)? Hint

Red phytochemicals are more easily damaged by sunlight than yellow phytochemicals
Yellow phytochemicals produce a more durable color than red phytochemicals
Red phytochemicals are poisonous to humans, yellow phytochemicals are not
Yellow phytochemicals are present all the time, red phytochemicals are only produced in autumn

photo quiz
3. Part of what makes the fall foliage in places like New England famous is the contrast between the colors of the deciduous trees and the green of trees such as the one shown here. What generic term is given to trees such as the Eastern white pine pictured? Hint

Eucalyptus trees
Evergreen trees
Herbaceous trees
Christmas trees

photo quiz
4. Some trees produce a variety of colors, possibly on the same tree. These leaves came from a single specimen of a tree in the genus Quercus. By what name do observers probably refer to the tree from which they came? Hint

Gum
Willow
Oak
Pine

photo quiz
5. These maple leaves show a range of colors from yellow through orange to red, along with some that are still green. Could they all have been taken from a single tree at the same time?

Yes
No

photo quiz
6. The production of color is part of the process of abscission, or the dropping or leaves. After they have produced color, most leaves die and turn brown as they drop. Why do dead leaves look brown? Hint

They are going into hibernation
You are seeing the cell walls
They are in mourning
Caterpillars find it harder to see them

photo quiz
7. Foliage tourists know that some years produce more brilliant fall colors than others. What conditions lead to the most impressive displays of color in autumn? Hint

Cool clear days with frost-free nights
Warm cloudy days with any type of night
Cool cloudy days with frosty nights
Warm days with intense sunlight and clouds overnight

photo quiz
8. Fall foliage can be found in some places where one might not expect to see it. This American sweetgum is located in Hawaii, where one might think the conditions are not conducive to brilliant displays of color. In what part of the state is it most likely to be located? Hint

In Waimea Canyon on Kaua'i
Near the beaches of O'ahu
In the mountains of Maui
Along a riverbank on Moloka'i

photo quiz
9. While deciduous trees in many temperate parts of the world change color in autumn, the color display in North America is often more impressive than is the case in other places. Which of these is NOT a contributory factor for this? Hint

Distinct seasonal change of temperature and rainfall
Large range of deciduous species
Presence of many eager tourists
Relatively dense forest cover

photo quiz
10. Sometimes the change of color associated with leaf drop in deciduous trees is not triggered by the onset of winter, but by which of these factors? Hint

Approach of the dry season
Onset of the cyclone season
Approach of the monsoon season
Onset of El Nino


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The leaves of this maple tree are yellow because of the presence of what class of chemicals in the leaves?

Answer: Carotenoids

During the growing season, most leaves appear green due to the presence of chlorophyll in their chloroplasts, where the process of photosynthesis produces carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. In late summer, chlorophyll replacement slows down, and the color of other chemicals in the leaves can be seen in place of the green. Carotenoids (yellow to orange in color) are also present in chloroplasts, where they absorb solar energy for photosynthesis and prevent photo-damage of chlorophyll. Humans can convert some carotenoids to retinal (a form of Vitamin A), and they are also useful as antioxidants.
2. The red color in these leaves comes from the presence of anthocyanins. Aside from the difference in color, what is a significant difference between these chemicals and those that produce a yellow color (in leaves that change color in autumn)?

Answer: Yellow phytochemicals are present all the time, red phytochemicals are only produced in autumn

While some plants have a significant amount of anthocyanins at all times (hence their red leaf color), in most deciduous trees they are only produced at the end of summer, when a decrease in the phosphate level in leaves changes the process by which sugars are broken down, leading to the production of anthocyanins. Worldwide about ten percent of trees produce anthocyanins; in the New England region of the United States over two thirds of the species do so, contributing to its famed autumn foliage.

The mixture of red and yellow pigments in leaves produces a range of colors, depending on their balance.
3. Part of what makes the fall foliage in places like New England famous is the contrast between the colors of the deciduous trees and the green of trees such as the one shown here. What generic term is given to trees such as the Eastern white pine pictured?

Answer: Evergreen trees

Evergreens keep their leaves all year round, and do not typically show seasonal changes in color (aside from some darkening of new foliage as it matures in some species, from light green to a darker green). In a forested area containing a mixture of hardwood trees producing various colors and evergreens, the contrast increases the perceived intensity of the colors. Since many of them produce an aromatic resin as part of their defense system, many associate the scent of pine and cedar with the colors, although they are independent.
4. Some trees produce a variety of colors, possibly on the same tree. These leaves came from a single specimen of a tree in the genus Quercus. By what name do observers probably refer to the tree from which they came?

Answer: Oak

Oak trees are members of the beech family. Their leaves are usually long and divided into segments, often with more rounded edges than those shown in the picture. Even more familiar is their fruit, a nut called an acorn, a number of which were also shown in the picture. Several of the leaves in the picture showed a mixture of red and green coloration; it is common for the veins in a leaf to stay green longer than the rest of it, leading to this kind of mixture, especially in the early stages of color development.
5. These maple leaves show a range of colors from yellow through orange to red, along with some that are still green. Could they all have been taken from a single tree at the same time?

Answer: Yes

Every leaf loses chlorophyll independently of the rest of the tree, although they usually change at pretty much the same time due to being exposed to the same environmental conditions. As the yellow color emerges, and red is produced if the tree is one of those that does so, the mixed balance between the various phytochemicals in the leaves can produce a range of colors on a single tree.

It is common for color to appear first near the top of the tree, so the lowest leaves could still be green when the highest ones are fully colored.
6. The production of color is part of the process of abscission, or the dropping or leaves. After they have produced color, most leaves die and turn brown as they drop. Why do dead leaves look brown?

Answer: You are seeing the cell walls

Once the chlorophyll is all gone, the tree's leaves have their strongest color. Then that, too, fades as the tree's metabolic processes continue to shut down. When all the phytochemicals have gone, you can actually see the cellulose in the cell walls of the leaf. Since they are not perfectly aligned, they reflect light in an overlapping pattern that produces a visual perception of brown color.
7. Foliage tourists know that some years produce more brilliant fall colors than others. What conditions lead to the most impressive displays of color in autumn?

Answer: Cool clear days with frost-free nights

The yellow shades become visible in any climatic conditions, but the red-purple shades depend on the amount of anthocyanins being produced. The chemical reactions that produce them are triggered by cool weather (which is why they start to appear as the weather gets cooler in autumn) and proceed more rapidly when there is plenty of sunlight available. Cool clear days provide these conditions. Color development is also helped by chilly nights, with temperatures close to freezing, but not quite cold enough to produce frost.

The peak color period is only a few weeks, usually between early October (for northern and interior parts of Canada and the United States) and early November for more southerly areas. In the Southern Hemisphere, the color season is during the month of April, with the two-week climactic period varying from place to place.
8. Fall foliage can be found in some places where one might not expect to see it. This American sweetgum is located in Hawaii, where one might think the conditions are not conducive to brilliant displays of color. In what part of the state is it most likely to be located?

Answer: In the mountains of Maui

Despite its tropical location, Hawaii is composed of volcanic islands, and has some high peaks where the temperatures are cool enough for deciduous trees to develop, and contribute their changing colors to the scenery of Hawaii. The tree in the image is located near the community of Keokea on the island of Maui, at an elevation of 872 m (2860 ft) above sea level.

In this region, the fertile volcanic soil and temperate climate make agriculture and forestry important industries.
9. While deciduous trees in many temperate parts of the world change color in autumn, the color display in North America is often more impressive than is the case in other places. Which of these is NOT a contributory factor for this?

Answer: Presence of many eager tourists

North America has a much greater variety of deciduous species than is the case in Europe and Asia, where the smaller number of species means there is a more limited range of colors. The dramatic changes between seasons ensure that many trees produce brilliant colors, and the fact that there are still large areas with (at least relatively) dense forest cover means the colored trees are readily seen.

The eager tourists are a result, not a cause, of the color. They are sometimes referred to as leaf peepers, a term which can carry negative connotations when used by those who are inconvenienced by their presence in rural areas which do not have the infrastructure to make tourist activities fit in without disrupting local residents. In Japan, where the image for this question was taken, tourism to see the autumn colors is called momijigari (maple tree hunting) or koyo (another way to pronounce the same characters, meaning leaves changing color).
10. Sometimes the change of color associated with leaf drop in deciduous trees is not triggered by the onset of winter, but by which of these factors?

Answer: Approach of the dry season

Especially in subtropical and arid regions, seasonal temperature changes are less important than are rainfall changes in determining when a deciduous tree drops its leaves, and hence may produce color in the process. Sometimes this rainfall change coincides with the winter, but not always.

The picture in the question shows the colors to be seen in the Adelaide Hills, near the capital of South Australia. This region was largely settled by German immigrants, who brought with them many familiar European deciduous species.
Source: Author looney_tunes

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