The view from any Pittsburgh park high point this time of year will show a quilt of multiple greens spread across our region’s slopes and valleys. In the past several weeks, the views from the Schenley Park Overlook or the Riverview Park Chapel Shelter are among the best of the year, with bright lime greens, dark mottled greens and shimmering emerald hues rippling across the landscape as spring breezes flutter through. There are also the deep greens of the omnipresent fir trees, and a few lone holdouts that have just begun to sprout their leaves. Head to the Point of View statue in Emerald View Park, the slope near the northern portion of the Highland Park Reservoir, or the outside balcony at the Frick Environmental Center, and take a gander as spring unfolds in all its wonder.
While not all leaves are green in the spring — some plants have blue, purple or reddish leaves — most do land within a spectrum from yellowish green to deep, dark emerald. Leaves get their color from a pigment they all possess called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll — and other chemicals — is vital to a tree’s survival because it absorbs sunlight and allows the tree to produce nutritious sugars through photosynthesis. We see a springtime leaf as green because its composition reflects away green light, which chlorophyll cannot use for its sugar production. This green light comes into our eyes and we see the plant as green... Read the full article