Why are plants and leaves green?

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My five year old asked me why plants and leave are green as opposed to being black, blue, silver, golden, etc. I know about plants containing chlorophyll but how do I explain it to her without sounding all science-y?

In: Biology

5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Plants don’t eat – instead they get their energy from light. They have a chemical in their leaves that absorbs light, and it’s called chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll only works with red and blue light. Chlorophyll isn’t shaped right to absorb green light, so that bounces off and hits you in the eye, and that’s why you see green when you look at a plant.

(I’m guessing this will quickly pull the conversation away from photosynthesis, and into how colors and vision work. She might be interested to hear about how if a plant was black that would mean it was absorbing all the light, which would mean it’s super good at getting energy, and a silver plant would starve because all its food/light is bouncing away and so none is being soaked up.)

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