• Mary wrote a new post, Science Experiments At Home: A Variation on the Carnation Food Dye Test, on the site Skepchick 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Whether you’re stuck at home with the kids or not, this is a pretty neat experiment to try out–and a great opportunity to have your kids experience the scientific process. Science is not just about knowing how […]

    • Love it, and it made me think of a similar experiment, that may or may not give interesting results. A common spring flower in Norway is Anemone Hepatica (which has a bunch of English names as well) which most often has blue or purple flowers, but soil conditions can turn them pinkish or white. Another way to change the color is to use them to antagonize wood ants until they spray formic acid on the flower. If they started out blue or purple they will dramatically change to pink wherever the acid hits.

      Perhaps, and I’m just hypothesizing wildly here, household acids and bases might change petal colors as well, given a little time.

      • Oh that is a really cool followup! I wonder if that would also work on hydrangeas (since they also have pH-dependent color changes).

        One interesting development: I noticed that one of the flowers with a little damage to the petals had a lot of blue around the damaged area, which could lead to a good discussion about what exactly is going on with the flower.

    • I THINK that some florists have sold flowers with a two-tone die. Splitting the stem and putting the ends in different colored waters. One could experiment with the axis of the split, the possible limit of how many splits could work, the possibility of superimposing a new color onto (into) a previously stained flower etc. etc.

      • That’s an interesting idea! I might try it with tulips. For my experiment so far, the ranunculus has been the one that’s sucked up the most color, and I’m thinking it’s because of how the stem is a little less woody than the other flowers.