- Created: Tuesday, 23 August 2011 00:00
- Written by Nadia O’Carroll
Most deciduous trees in Australia are exotic species; however there are a few native deciduous trees and one of the most spectacular is the Red Cedar. Its new, spring growth appears as a beautiful flush of copper red, due to the presence of a red pigment called anthocyanin. Most plant leaves are green because of a green pigment called chlorophyll which is utilised in photosynthesis. Red pigmented leaves reduce a plant’s ability to photosynthesise, however they have other benefits – they protect from excess light and radiation, the red colour undermines insect camouflage and is apparently a colour which is not appealing to potential insect pests. Plants also have to balance their energy capture with energy consumption and dissipation, so by reddening their leaves Red Cedars reduce the rate of photosynthesis which may be an advantage at a certain seasonal developmental stage of leaf growth.