Where do Flower Colours come from?

What astonishes everyone about a flower is its fragrance. There are different flower fragrances as there are different flowers. But do you exactly know where flower colours come from? What makes a flower its distinctive colour?

Flower colours of red, pink, blue and purple come mainly from the pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments in the class of chemicals called flavanoids, which are phenolics. Anthocyanins are found in the cell vacuoles and are glucosides meaning they contain a sugar molecule. A classic experiment uses the anthocyanins in red cabbage as a pH indicator because anthocyanins change colour depending on the pH. You could do the same thing with flower petals. An easy way is to crush a red rose petal on a white plate with the back of a spoon and add either vinegar (acid) or baking soda (alkali) and note the colour change. A college lab manual has an experiment on chromatography of flower anthocyanins. Flowers may also contain another class of pigments called carotenoids, which are responsible for red in tomato and orange in carrot root.

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Where do Flower Colours come from? was last modified: September 15th, 2008 by admin
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