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What Is the Green Stuff in Plants Called?

Updated February 21, 2017

Plants appear to be green because of light reflection. The molecules in the plant called chlorophyll absorb red and blue light from the colour spectrum but reflect green light, creating the green of plant stems and leaves visible to the human eye.

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Kinds of Chlorophyll

Plants thrive by absorbing two kinds of chlorophyll from the sun. They gain their energy through light absorption from the red and blue parts of the chlorophyll. The remaining chlorophyll deters this absorption, and the resulting reflection makes the plants look green.

Other Functions of Chlorophyll

Besides giving plants colour, chlorophyll transforms sunlight into oxygen and carbohydrates through a process called photosynthesis. This provides plants with nutrients to survive as well as necessary nourishment to the animals that consume them.

Odd Fact

Despite its spelling, chlorophyll has no relation to chlorine. In Greek, the word "chloros" means yellowish green, which also refers to the colour of chlorine gas.

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About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.

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