Virtual Tour

 

You probably know that most evergreen plants keep their leaves all year round. We call them "ever" "green" because they're always green. An example of an evergreen is a pine tree. The needles of the evergreen pictured here aren't green, though, they're yellow! How can this be when we all know that plants need green chlorophyll [pronounced clor-o-phil] (a green-colored substance in a plant's cells) to make food during photosynthesis (see tour stop #20)? Actually, there are other pigments (as they're called) besides chlorophyll in leaves that help make food. One of them is colored yellow. Usually it's hidden behind the chlorophyll, so most leaves look green and not yellow. In this tree, though, there are more yellow pigments than green ones so the overall color of the tree is yellow. But it's still an evergreen!

yellow evergreen

Bonus fact:
In the fall, when the leaves of deciduous (dee-sid-you-us) trees—the kinds of trees that lose their leaves every year—begin to die, they sometimes turn beautiful colors. The tree stops making chlorophyll so the green disappears. The other pigments, like yellows and reds, are now exposed and can show off.

Deciduous tree in fall color
Deciduous tree in fall color.

How to find the yellow evergreen at the Arboretum:
This tree—a type of Hinoki false cypress—is in the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifer Collection. Enter the collection and take the path to the left. The tree will be on your right. (Be sure to notice all the other types of yellow evergreens in the Gotelli collection—there are lots of them.)

Scientific name for this Hinoki false cypress: Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii'

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Last Updated   July 10, 2009 10:04 AM
URL = http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/collections/VirtualTours/KidsVirtualTour_26b.html

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