Posts Tagged ‘plant color’

The Color Diet

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

For years, we’ve been told to plan our daily diet by thinking food groups and calories. Now we’re told to choose by color. ”Orange and green, definitely, we should have something from these groups every day,” Lilan Cheung, director of health promotion and communication with the Harvard School of Public Health, told an AP reporter. “Purple or blue, dark green and orange. Reds don’t need to be part of the daily diet mix but they should be eaten frequently.” Turns out the disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants we hear so much about are often natural plant pigments — the carotenoids that make carrots orange, for example, or the anthocyanins that give beets their lipstick hues.

And we Think Gray Plants are Awesome?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

“The vegetable kingdom in Mars, instead of having green for a dominant colour, is of a vivid blood-red tint,” wrote H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds a century ago, when astronomers were trying to account for the planet’s color.

He may have been on to something, though not on that particular planet. Today, scientists searching for extraterrestrial life believe plants on other worlds might not be green. Their color would depend mainly on the type of star supplying the light used in photosynthesis. Plants on Earth are green because our sun is a relatively hot F-type star and chlorophyll is the appropriate photosynthetic pigment. But, as Scientific American reports, plants on planets orbiting feeble red dwarfs, the most abundant type of star in the Milky Way, might need to be black to absorb all the available light. On the other hand, plants growing in the light of a supergiant F-type sun might be shiny blue to survive its scorching rays. Don’t miss the fantastic artist’s renderings of these and other alien plants in the accompanying slide show.