An English landscape in the autumn; the chemistry.

I cycled out to the drone airbase this morning, wanting to make the most of the sunshine. The frost from last night was just melting away off the fields. As expected most of the leaves on the hedgerows that surround the perimeter security fence have dropped but still there were some around, with pigments of yellow, reds and gold, those colours of fire and burning.

The leaf colours of autumn are carotenoids, consisting of molecules of isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. A phosphate is a salt containing phosphorus, a key element of weapons' explosives. Strangely then these hot colours are not only a visual simile but have an associated chemistry.