Why are plants green?

Most plants are green. Green stalks and green leaves. Sure, flower petals are the obvious exception here, but the reason for that is primarily due to attracting bees or other insects which can be used to pollinate plants. The point of this post though, is to explain why it is that plants are predominantly green.

Green Jungle

Lowland Rainforest, Costa Rica

As we all know, plants gain energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. It is an amazing process, one to be marveled at. Plants are true masters of chemistry, and for that they deserve our respect. They also deserve our respect for many other reasons, but alas I digress.

Plants produce leaves in order to catch the suns energy. Leaves are packed with chlorophyll, which is the green pigment found in leaves and is the bio-molecule which is largely responsible for photosynthesis. So some readers may assume that we have an answer to the question ‘why are plants green’ right there. Because they contain chlorophyll. Well yes and no. That’s the simple answer. But why is chlorophyll green? What is it about the colour green that is so good for photosynthesis?

Interestingly, the green portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is actually the least beneficial to the plant. Plants gather the blue portion of light most intensely, followed by the red portion. These are the portions of the light spectrum that the plant can use for photosynthesis.

The remaining portion, green, is not as useful to the plant. As such, when sunlight hits a plant, the blue and red portions of the light are absorbed by the Chlorophyll, and the rejected green portion of light is reflected back. This is why plants appear green to us, simply because the plant doesn’t benefit from green light, and so it doesn’t absorb it, it reflects it instead. That green reflected light is then gathered by our eyes, allowing us to see green plants!

Green forest

Green forest

  1. this is a very bad explanation about why
    plants are green it is very confusing and
    people wouldnt understand whhat other people
    have written it is so rubbish ok
    it is a rubbish explanation as to why
    plants are green you have not given me enough explanation

  2. Thanks for your comment, although it really doesn’t make much sense. “People wouldnt understand whhat other people have written”, what are you talking about? I am the only one who has written on this blog. Who are these other people you refer to? You know, when you are commenting on how poor someone else’s writing is, you may want to actually spell words correctly, use punctuation and generally have a coherent point, or you might look like a bit of a fool. I stated the point as simply as I could. You see green because that’s the colour the plant reflects, since it doesn’t absorb the green light. If you still don’t understand then I am rather shocked! Thanks again for your comment.

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