Backyard Biology

Nature stories from my backyard and beyond

Nature Activities

Leaf Chromatography

December 6, 2012

Plants use a number of colored chemicals - pigments - in the process of photosynthesis. The best known of these chemicals is Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives the leaf its green color. But other pigments are present in the leaf as well, and may be revealed in the fall when the chlorophyll disappears.. In this activity we will see which pigments are present through a process called paper chromatography.


  • leaves
  • scissors
  • jars
  • rubbing alcohol
  • paper towel or filter paper strips
  • ruler, cups and tape (to suspend paper towel strips from.
  • hot water and pan