Photographed at an exhibit at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum yesterday. I need to learn about this, but haven't yet found a concise source (written for adults) to read and cite. Suggestions?
Scientific American has detailed instructions for undertaking the procedure and interpreting the results:
What are the different bands of color on the test strips? These are the different pigments in the leaves. The ones you may see on your paper towel strips are: green chlorophylls, yellow xanthophylls, orange carotenoids and red anthocyanins. Pigments with larger molecules generally stay near the bottom of the strip, where the solution was first "painted" onto the pencil line, because it is harder for them to travel up through the paper towel's woven fiber. Smaller pigments can more easily traverse the paper towel and, consequently, they usually travel farther up the strip.