Soon after grass dies, the natural chemical that makes it green begins to break down and differently colored chemical pigments take its place. Of course, these other pigments are shades of yellow, tan and brown. The green chemical in grass and all other green plants is chlorophyll. This chemical is the same one used to capture sunlight and convert it into a form of energy that can be used by the plants.
Chlorophyll is what makes plants greens. It does this by absorbing all the different wavelengths of light except for the wavelength we perceive as green. This wavelength is reflected, and it is what we pick up with our eyes. This is not a special characteristic of chlorophyll because this is why all green things are green.
What is a special characteristic of chlorophyll is that it has the ability to use the light it absorbs to initiate a chemical reaction that produces energy for plants. This process is called photosynthesis. Some scientists have wondered why nature made chlorophyll green. Because it reflects green light, it cannot absorb the energy of the green wavelengths. It has been speculated that if chlorophyll were black, it could absorb a wider spectrum of light and get more energy for the plant.
Chlorophyll is a complex organic compound that is continually produced by plants while they are alive and active. Deciduous trees stop producing chlorophyll in the winter, so their leaves go through the same process as dead blades of grass. Chlorophyll does not last forever. After some time, it begins to break apart into simpler compounds and elements. These simpler compounds and elements do not have the same properties as chlorophyll.
If chlorophyll is no longer produced by a plant, it breaks down into other compounds that absorb different wavelengths of light. It is the chemical structure of chlorophyll that allows it to reflect green light, so when it loses its chemical structure, the green is absorbed rather than reflected. To put it even more simply, when the grass dies, the green, which is really just light, is absorbed into the dead grass.
Posted 3162 day ago