How Conifers Maintain Their Green Hue

How do conifers, which are commonly seen on Christmas trees, maintain their needles’ green hue despite the boreal winter causing the shedding of leaves from most trees? Science has yet to give a definitive answer to this.

However, a group of international scientists, including experts from Umeå University, has discovered that there is a short way in the photosynthetic mechanism that makes conifers’ needles to keep their green color. The research was released in the journal called Nature Communications.

During winter, molecules from green chlorophyll absorb light energy. However, this energy cannot be used for later reactions in the photosynthetic mechanism since frigid weather ceases many of the biochemical reactions.

This is also an issue in springtime since the temperature is still cold, but the sunlight can be intense. If the light energy is too strong, it could cause the breakage of proteins in the mechanism.

The scientists learned that the mechanism is made to provide the pine needles its green hue throughout the year. They mentioned that photosystem II gives energy to photosystem I. This shortcut gives green chlorophyll and the conifers’ needles protection when the weather becomes too extreme.

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