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The Color of Plants on Other Worlds

On other worlds, plants could be red, blue, even black

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PLANT STRUCTURE

The equivalent of plants on other worlds may still possess something like stems and leaves as efficient structures for collecting solar energy, but whatever they use as a photosynthetic pigment may be a far cry form chlorophyll.....[ More ]

SUPERGIANT TYPE F STAR

A shiny, blue-pigmented plant awaits the scorching assault of its supergiant F-type sun.....[ More ]

TYPE F STAR

Around F stars, plants might get too much light and need to reflect much of it.....[ More ]

YOUNG M STARS

Young M stars fry planetary surfaces with ultra-violet flares, so any organisms must be aquatic.....[ More ]

TYPE M STARS

Type M stars (red dwarfs) are feeble, so plants on an orbiting Earth-like world might need to be black to absorb all the available light.....[ More ]

EARTH PLANTS

Our sun is a type G star. Although the energy spectrum of sunlight at Earth's surface peaks in the blue-green, the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll preferentially absorbs red and blue light and carotenoid pigments (which produce the vibrant reds and yellows of fall foliage).....[ More ]

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

Light-harvesting pigments in photosynthetic organisms preferentially absorb photons of particular colors, scattering the rest. Plants on Earth get most of their energy from blue and red photons and scatter or reflect green photons.....[ More ]

VARIOUS TYPES OF F-STAR FOLIAGE

If it isn't easy being green on Earth, where chlorophyll is well tuned to absorb most of the energy in our sun's yellow light, imagine the difficulties elsewhere in the galaxy. Plants growing on worlds around cooler, brighter or more tempestuous stars would need to rely on red, blue or even black pigments to survive.....[ More ]

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