Anthocyanins in Leaves and Other Vegetative Organs: An Introduction

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Although anthocyanins are most recognized as pigments contributing to coloration in fruits and flowers, they are also present in leaves and other vegetative organs. Although their presence has long been recognized, particularly because of their contribution to autumn coloration, the phenomenon has been poorly studied and is not well understood. In this chapter we review the history of research on anthocyanins in leaves, emphasizing the flurry of research at the end of the 19 th century as well as the growing body of contemporary research on the topic. We emphasize the various hypotheses of anthocyanin function that were mainly developed more than a century ago, and emphasize recent research that takes advantage of our dramatically increased understanding of whole plant physiology.

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