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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify the parts of a typical leaf
  • Describe the internal structure and function of a leaf
  • Compare and contrast simple leaves and compound leaves
  • List and describe examples of modified leaves

Leaves are the main sites for photosynthesis: the process by which plants synthesize food. Most leaves are usually green, due to the presence of chlorophyll in the leaf cells. However, some leaves may have different colors, caused by other plant pigments that mask the green chlorophyll.

The thickness, shape, and size of leaves are adapted to the environment. Each variation helps a plant species maximize its chances of survival in a particular habitat. Usually, the leaves of plants growing in tropical rainforests have larger surface areas than those of plants growing in deserts or very cold conditions, which are likely to have a smaller surface area to minimize water loss.

Structure of a typical leaf

Each leaf typically has a leaf blade called the lamina    , which is also the widest part of the leaf. Some leaves are attached to the plant stem by a petiole    . Leaves that do not have a petiole and are directly attached to the plant stem are called sessile    leaves. Small green appendages usually found at the base of the petiole are known as stipules . Most leaves have a midrib, which travels the length of the leaf and branches to each side to produce veins of vascular tissue. The edge of the leaf is called the margin. [link] shows the structure of a typical eudicot leaf.

 Illustration shows the parts of a leaf. The petiole is the stem of the leaf. The midrib is a vessel that extends from the petiole to the leaf tip. Veins branch from the midrib. The lamina is the wide, flat part of the leaf. The margin is the edge of the leaf.
Deceptively simple in appearance, a leaf is a highly efficient structure.

Within each leaf, the vascular tissue forms veins. The arrangement of veins in a leaf is called the venation    pattern. Monocots and dicots differ in their patterns of venation ( [link] ). Monocots have parallel venation; the veins run in straight lines across the length of the leaf without converging at a point. In dicots, however, the veins of the leaf have a net-like appearance, forming a pattern known as reticulate venation. One extant plant, the Ginkgo biloba , has dichotomous venation where the veins fork.

 Part A photo shows the broad, sword-shaped leaves of a tulip. Parallel veins run up the leaves. Part B photo shows a teardrop-shaped linden leaf that has veins radiating out from the midrib. Smaller veins radiate out from these. Right photo shows a fan-shaped ginkgo leaf, which has veins radiating out from the petiole.
(a) Tulip ( Tulipa ), a monocot, has leaves with parallel venation. The netlike venation in this (b) linden ( Tilia cordata ) leaf distinguishes it as a dicot. The (c) Ginkgo biloba tree has dichotomous venation. (credit a photo: modification of work by “Drewboy64”/Wikimedia Commons; credit b photo: modification of work by Roger Griffith; credit c photo: modification of work by "geishaboy500"/Flickr; credit abc illustrations: modification of work by Agnieszka Kwiecień)

Leaf arrangement

The arrangement of leaves on a stem is known as phyllotaxy    . The number and placement of a plant’s leaves will vary depending on the species, with each species exhibiting a characteristic leaf arrangement. Leaves are classified as either alternate, spiral, or opposite. Plants that have only one leaf per node have leaves that are said to be either alternate—meaning the leaves alternate on each side of the stem in a flat plane—or spiral, meaning the leaves are arrayed in a spiral along the stem. In an opposite leaf arrangement, two leaves arise at the same point, with the leaves connecting opposite each other along the branch. If there are three or more leaves connected at a node, the leaf arrangement is classified as whorled    .

Questions & Answers

is economics important in programming world?
Abdul Reply
What is oppunity cost
Kudzanayi Reply
it refers wants that are left unsatisfied in Oder satisfy another more pressing need
Thank bro
is the second altenative to foregone
How does monopoly and imperfect competion;public goods externalities ass symmetric information, ommon property ressourses; income distribution Merit goods and Macroeconomic growth and stability causes market failure?
it is where by a labour moves from one place to another
Amoako Reply
what is mobility of labour
George Reply
who best defined economics
paul Reply
what are the importance of economics
Adwoa Reply
trade should be best
help to know how our government operates in which system
1. To solve economic problems. 2. To predict economic event. 3. It also offer intellectual training to students.
How price elasticity can affect the markets of certain goods
Rhoda Reply
Heyy thanks for the teaching
Easter Reply
what is labour
Arthur Reply
Mental and physical ability of human being is considered as labour.
and usually provided by human
is all human effort both physical and mental abilities to work
why is it that most countries in Africa abuse available resources
Okeoghene Reply
What is economics
Bright Reply
economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends, scarce means which have alternative uses.
Why is scarcity a mind problem in economics
Alima Reply
because of the problem of allocation of resources
unequalled distribution of resources
scarcity is a mind problem due to circumstances like when a particular product is demand in a high rate at the market.
scarcity defines limited in supply relative to the demand them. so scarcity is a mind problem in economics because wants are unlimited while resources are also limited.
it is a mind problem because it's one of the fundamental issue address by economics human wants are unlimited and resources available are limited this makes the study of economics essential
its a fundamental issue
it's not a mind problem, I think it's a economic problem, how to allocate scarce resources to satisfy need and want of society
Identify the different sectors in the economy
Moses Reply
what is economics
economic is study of human behaviour according to how they satisfie their numerous want
Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scares resources.
economic is study of human behaviour according to how they satisfie their numerous want
what is the law of demand
Adugbire Reply
the lower the price the higher the quantity demanded vice versa is true
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Weness Reply
no relationship
When there is economic growth, there is increased opportunity in employment. When there is no economic growth mean there is recession causing a decline or downsizing in employment opportunities.
unemployment or employment determined by the level of economic growth
in a comparison of the stages of meiosis to the stage of mitosis, which stages are unique to meiosis and which stages have the same event in botg meiosis and mitosis
Leah Reply
Difference between extinct and extici spicies
Amanpreet Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Bmcc 102 - concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Aug 11, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11856/1.3
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