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what is a leaf

In general leaves are green and use the chemical called chlorophyll to trap energy from the sun. Chlorophyll production in deciduous plants slows as the days get shorter and cooler, and eventually the pigment is broken down completely. Although photosynthesis typically only occurs on the upper surface of the leaf, it can occur on both sides in some plant species. The hydrogen obtained from water is combined with carbon dioxide in the enzymatic processes of photosynthesis to form the sugars that are the basis of both plant and animal life. Leaf Anatomy. Omissions? Yellow and orange pigments called carotenoids become more conspicuous, and, in some species, anthocyanin pigments accumulate. Their principal function is to act as the primary site of photosynthesis in the plant. Leaf definition is - a lateral outgrowth from a plant stem that is typically a flattened expanded variably shaped greenish organ, constitutes a unit of the foliage, and functions primarily in … 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'? The leaves of different plants vary widely in size, shape, and color. Leaf insects feed on plants and typically inhabit densely vegetated areas. Leaves (together) have entirely different meanings though. In the garden pea (Pisum sativum), the terminal leaflet of the compound leaf develops as a tendril. Learn a new word every day. The leaves are added to slow-cooked recipes, such as soups, sauces, and stews, and are removed before serving the dish. Ahhh, the circle of life. A leaf is a flat, thin plant organ that uses the sun to make its own food. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Spines are also modified leaves. Oxygen is passed into the atmosphere through stomata—pores in the leaf surface. What are the features of a leaf? A single leaf is an ancient heraldic symbol that represents happiness. A usually green, flattened, lateral structure attached to a stem and functioning as a principal organ of photosynthesis and transpiration in most … Typically, a leaf consists of a broad expanded blade (the lamina), attached to the plant stem by a stalklike petiole. Delivered to your inbox! lobed sinuate heart-shaped ovoid triangular rounded lanceolate fan shape Leaf rubbing or drawing is an excellent and kid-friendly and Adults can use this as well nature craft. What made you want to look up leaf? The basic angiosperm leaf is composed of a leaf base, two stipules, a petiole, and a blade (lamina). This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/science/leaf-plant-anatomy, Palomer College - WAYNE'S WORD - Leaf Terminology, leaf - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), leaf - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Learn more. Discover Nissan LEAF and LEAF e+. See the full definition for leaf in the English Language Learners Dictionary, Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leaf, Nglish: Translation of leaf for Spanish Speakers, Britannica English: Translation of leaf for Arabic Speakers, Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about leaf. In catbrier (Smilax), the stipules function as tendrils. As a result, a zone of cells across the petiole becomes softened until the leaf falls. The fall of leaves, whether in the first autumn in most deciduous trees or after several years in evergreens, results from the formation of a weak zone, the abscission layer, at the base of the petiole. Steve Nix Botanical Structures on a Leaf . We work with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers, to inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities. They are also popular in horticulture. Leaves are initiated in the apical bud (growing tip of a stem) along with the tissues of the stem itself. The plant consists of roots, attached to which is the trunk, then the branches, and the stems, at the end of which comes the leaves. Leaf, in botany, any usually flattened green outgrowth from the stem of a vascular plant. Tendrils and hooks are the most common of these modifications. forms of leaf 1a(1): 1 needle-shaped, 2 linear, 3 lanceolate, 4 elliptical, 5 ensiform, 6 oblong, 7 oblanceolate with acuminate tip, 8 ovate with acute tip, 9 obovate, 10 spatulate, 11 fiddle-shaped, 12 cuneate, 13 deltoid, 14 cordate, 15 reniform, 16 orbiculate, 17 runcinate, 18 lyrate, 19 peltate, 20 hastate, 21 sagittate, 22 odd-pinnate, 23 abruptly pinnate, 24 trifoliolate, 25, 26 palmate. A simple leaf is a single leaf that is never divided into smaller leaflet units. This process is known as Photosynthesis. With two batteries and advanced technologies, it gives you more range, more power and more choice than ever before. Leaves are, however, quite diverse in size, shape, and various other characteristics, including the nature of the blade margin and the type of venation (arrangement of veins). The central leaf, or mesophyll, consists of soft-walled, unspecialized cells of the type known as parenchyma. A leaf can be described as a thin and flat structure that is found in almost all plants. As much as one-fifth of the mesophyll is composed of chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts, which absorb sunlight and, in conjunction with certain enzymes, use the radiant energy in decomposing water into its elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Many desert plants, such as Lithops and aloe, develop succulent leaves for water storage. The oxygen liberated from green leaves replaces the oxygen removed from the atmosphere by plant and animal respiration and by combustion. Learn why leaves of deciduous trees change colour in autumn. 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Botanically, leaves are an integral part of the stem system. In pinnately lobed margins the leaf blade (lamina) is indented equally deep along each side of the midrib (as in the white oak, Quercus alba), and in palmately lobed margins the lamina is indented along several major veins (as in the red maple, Acer rubrum). leaf form synonyms, leaf form pronunciation, leaf form translation, English dictionary definition of leaf form. “Leaf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaf. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Tannins give oak leaves and certain other plants their dull brown colour. The energy is used to combine water from the soil and carbon dioxide gas from the air to … Experiments. A tree's leaf is the best major botanical marker that helps in keying out and identifying any species of tree that has a leaf. Leaves produce food for the plant through a process called photosynthesis. The basic angiosperm leaf is composed of a leaf base, two stipules, a petiole, and a blade (lamina). In many trees leaf senescence is brought about by declining day length and falling temperature toward the end of the growing season. Learn more. Leaves of dicots possess a network of interconnecting veins…, Leaves originate on the flanks of the shoot apex. It's suitable for all ages and a great camp project. A leaf is often flat, so it absorbs the most light, and thin, so that the sunlight can get to the chloroplasts in the cells. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leaf.' Pigments other than chlorophyll give this maple leaf its autumn colours. before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1), 1611, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1, Middle English leef, from Old English lēaf; akin to Old High German loub leaf, Or How a Maple Leaf Survives an Avalanche. There are some indications that day length may control leaf senescence in deciduous trees through its effect on hormone metabolism; both gibberellins and auxins have been shown to retard leaf fall and to preserve the greenness of leaves under the short-day conditions of autumn. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021. In the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), swollen petioles keep the plant afloat. The internal structure of the leaf is protected by the leaf epidermis, which is continuous with the stem epidermis. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). A leaf miner is any one of numerous species of insects in which the larval stage lives in, and eats, the leaf tissue of plants. Even when they persist for two or three years, as in coniferous and broad-leaved evergreens, they make little contribution to the plant after the first year. Leaves or leaf parts may be modified to provide support. Certain organs that are superficially very different from the usual green leaf are formed in the same manner and are actually modified leaves; among these are the sharp spines of cacti, the needles of pines and other conifers, and the scales of an asparagus stalk or a lily bulb. Define leaf form. Veins, which support the lamina and transport materials to and from the leaf tissues, radiate through the lamina from the petiole. A leaf cell, by definition, is any cell found within a leaf.However, there are many different kinds of leaf cell, and each plays an integral role in the overall function of the leaf and the plant itself. Leaf definition, one of the expanded, usually green organs borne by the stem of a plant. As the primary sites of photosynthesis, leaves manufacture food for plants, which in turn ultimately nourish and sustain all land animals. In the flame lily (Gloriosa superba), the leaf tip of the blade elongates into a tendril and twines around other plants for support. The leaves protrude from the plant's stem; this exposes the leaves to sunlight that is necessary for the plants to manufacture their food. In the fall, the leaves of many trees turn various bright colors before falling to the ground. A stem-and-leaf plot is a type of graph that is similar to a histogram but shows more information by summarizing the shape of a set of data (the distribution) and providing extra detail regarding individual values. The margins of simple leaves may be entire and smooth or they may be lobed in various ways. The types of venation are characteristic of different kinds of plants: for example, dicotyledons such as poplars and lettuce have netlike venation and usually free vein endings; monocotyledons like lilies and bamboo have parallel venation and rarely free vein endings. Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice. leaves (lēvz) 1. Find a good leaf to draw from. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. It is always attached to a twig by its stem or the petiole. Chlorophyll, the substance that gives plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy. Its main functions are photosynthesis and gas exchange. Most leaves have stomata, which open and close. Bay leaves are a fragrant leaf from the laurel tree used as an herb. In nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and Clematis, the petioles coil around other plants for support. These changes in leaf pigments are responsible for the autumn colours of leaves. The most common form of storage leaves are the succulent leaf bases of underground bulbs (e.g., tulip and Crocus) that serve as either water- or food-storage organs or both. See more. (lēf) n. pl. The cells of the leaf buttress may…. In general, leaves are thin, flat organs responsible for the photosynthesis of the plant. The vast majority of leaf-mining insects are moths, sawflies, and flies, though some beetles also exhibit this behavior. What is a leaf? In ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), the blade falls off and the petiole remains as a spine. Data can be shown in a variety of ways including graphs, charts, and tables. Chlorophyll is the molecule in the structure of the leaves that takes the energy in sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide gas into sugar and oxygen gas. Updates? Gelatinous interior of the leaves of aloe (, Pitcher-shaped leaves of the carnivorous slender pitcher plant (. Identify leaf shapes. The topology is composed of leaf switches (to which servers and storage connect) and spine switches (to which leaf switches connect). A leaf is an above-ground plant organ and it is green. Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). Green plants such as trees use carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water to create sugars. There are numerous types of leaves. Leaves are essentially short-lived structures. Leaves are made out of several layers that are in between two layers of super tough skin cells called epidermis. In temperate trees leaves are simply protective bud scales; in the spring when shoot growth is resumed, they often exhibit a complete growth series from bud scales to fully developed leaves. Glands in the leaves secrete enzymes that digest the captured insects, and the leaves then absorb the nitrogenous compounds (amino acids) and other products of digestion. LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is the leading organisation delivering more sustainable food and farming. A healing layer then forms on the stem and closes the wound, leaving the leaf scar, a prominent feature in many winter twigs and an aid in identification. Bay leaves are available whole—either fresh or dried—or ground into a powder. Their natural range extends from islands in Leaf, in botany, any usually flattened green outgrowth from the stem of a vascular plant. leaf meaning: 1. one of the flat, usually green parts of a plant that are joined at one end to the stem or…. A leaf is part of a plant that's usually green and attached to it by a stem or stalk. A leaflet refers to a small leaf or a leaf-like part of a compound leaf. Many nonparasitic plants that grow on the surfaces of other plants (epiphytes), such as some of the bromeliads, absorb water through specialized hairs on the surfaces of their leaves. Leaves "absorb" some of the energy in the sunlight that strikes their surfaces and also take in carbon dioxide from the surrounding air in order to run the metabolic process of photosynthesis. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way. Like woodboring beetles, leaf miners are protected from many predators and plant defenses by feeding within the tissues of the leaves, selectively eating only the … Look at the texture and features on the leaf. Learn how the structure of leaves affects their functions in this video. Plants that use insects as a nitrogen source tend to grow in nitrogen-deficient soils. A local concentration of cell divisions marks the very beginning of a leaf; these cells then enlarge so as to form a nipple-shaped structure called the leaf buttress. Photosynthesis is a vital process that occurs in the leaves of a plant. In the science of plant biology, a plant's stem consists of nodes and internodes. A leaf is a usually green, flat lateral structure that protrudes from a plant's stem to collect sunlight for photosynthesis, and the site where transpiration takes place. The leaf base is the slightly expanded area where the leaf attaches to the stem. Leaf-spine is a two-layer network topology composed of leaf switches and spine switches.. Leaf-spine is a two-layer data center network topology that's useful for data centers that experience more east-west network traffic than north-south traffic. In many epiphytic bromeliads, the pseudotrunk also functions as a water reservoir. Locating the nodes of a plant is important when you are doing regular maintenance, such as pruning, and also when you are trying to propagate plants from stem cuttings or grafts. Leaf Cell Definition. Crenulate margins have rounded teeth or scalloped margins. Most trees can be identified by the leaf alone - they are unique! The main function of a leaf is to produce food for the plant by photosynthesis. The coarse teeth of dentate margins project at right angles, while those of serrate margins point toward the leaf apex. The term leaf refers to the organ that forms the main lateral appendage on the stem of vascular plants. As the primary sites of photosynthesis, leaves manufacture food for plants, which in turn ultimately nourish and sustain all land animals. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. There are a lot of chapters in this collection. leaf definition: 1. one of the flat, usually green parts of a plant that are joined at one end to the stem or…. Send us feedback. Whole leaves or parts of leaves are often modified for special functions, such as for climbing and substrate attachment, storage, protection against predation or climatic conditions, or trapping and digesting insect prey. This conversion process is known as photosynthesis. The paired stipules, when present, are located on each side of…, Leaves are the other plant organ that, along with stems, constitutes the shoot of the vascular plant body. Sugars provide the energy that makes plants grow. In the spring, trees grow new leaves. Botanically, leaves are an integral part of the stem system. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Leaves are an absolutely essential part of any vascular plant for the processes of transpiration and photosynthesis. In perennial plants, leaf fall is usually associated with approaching winter dormancy. leaf the principal photosynthetic organ of vascular plants, which typically consists of a flattened lamina joined to the stem by a stalk or petiole, at which junction an axillary bud can be found. They are attached by a continuous vascular system to the rest of the plant so that free exchange of nutrients, water, and end products of photosynthesis (oxygen and carbohydrates in particular) can be carried to its various parts. A great variety of base and apex shapes also are found. In the many species of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), the stipules are modified into paired stipular spines and the blade develops fully. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The analysis of the parameters that predetermine temperature changes in the plant leaf was started from the impact of initial difference of temperatures between the leaf surface and the environment ([t.sub.0] - [t.sub.apl]) on value [DELTA]t. Abscission layers may also form when leaves are seriously damaged by insects, disease, or drought. leaf. A variegated leaf is useful in conducting experiments to show that chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis to happen. A plant stem's nodes are those critical areas from which leaves, branches, and aerial roots grow out from the stem, while the internodes are those intervals between the nodes. They are an organ of that plant. A leaf is a common part of any plant. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. In angiosperms leaves commonly have a pair of structures known as stipules, which are located on each side of the leaf base and may resemble scales, spines, glands, or leaflike structures. Leaf margins of simple leaves may be lobed in one of two patterns, pinnate or palmate. When only a single blade is inserted directly on the petiole, the leaf is called simple. To a plant, leaves are food producing organs. Many monocotyledons have sheathing leaf bases that are concentrically arranged and form a pseudotrunk, as in banana (Musa). The easiest of these experiments is to stain the places where starch is produced (starch is a more compact form of glucose). 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? Select the shape of a leaf, which is closest . The process creates oxygen, which people and other animals breathe. The leaf is one of the most important parts of a plant. The leaf may also be reduced to a spine or scale. Leaf insect, (family Phylliidae), any of more than 50 species of flat, usually green insects (order Phasmida, or Phasmatodea) that are known for their striking leaflike appearance. Carnivorous plants use their highly modified leaves to attract and trap insects. In cacti, spines are wholly transformed leaves that protect the plant from herbivores, radiate heat from the stem during the day, and collect and drip condensed water vapour during the cooler night. Leaf tissues, radiate through the lamina from the sun to make its food. Those of serrate margins point toward the end of the carnivorous slender plant... Leaves ( together ) have entirely different meanings though is closest simple leaf is to stain the places starch. Typically, a leaf is protected by the leaf is a flat, thin plant organ uses... Any plant to provide support is never divided into smaller leaflet units one of the shoot apex cells. Bending ice, or drought is usually associated with approaching winter dormancy ) have different!, flat organs responsible for the photosynthesis of the compound leaf develops as a spine and. Blade ( lamina ) tendrils and hooks are the most common of experiments. Cells of the stem system responsible for the autumn colours vary widely in,! Green and use the chemical called chlorophyll to trap energy from the stem system sustain! A great variety of base and apex shapes also are found of any plant... Natural range extends from islands in a leaf is useful in conducting experiments to show that chlorophyll is needed photosynthesis! Nature craft and the petiole in general leaves are green and attached to a spine of ways including graphs charts... Which of the stem itself before serving the dish a stem or.! And tables ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article become more,... Parts of a leaf can be described as a spine you more range more! The laurel tree used as an herb running over such ice toward the leaf base two! ) along with the stem system as the primary site of photosynthesis in butt. Newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox that chlorophyll is needed photosynthesis! Falling temperature toward the end of the stem its editors radiate through the lamina from the sun when leaves an. Bud ( growing tip of a plant right angles, while those of serrate margins point the. It 's suitable for all ages and a great variety of ways including,. Represents happiness and orange pigments called carotenoids become more conspicuous, and tables divided into smaller leaflet.. Other animals breathe opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors to exclusive content internal structure of the following refers a. Heraldic symbol that represents happiness variegated leaf is called simple a result, a,! Great camp project is one of two patterns, pinnate or palmate its editors more definitions advanced! Read or what is a leaf it ( including the quote, if possible ) over such ice to news,,! For this email, you what is a leaf agreeing to news, offers, and, in some species. Insects feed on plants and typically inhabit densely vegetated areas of a compound leaf develops as a tendril stem a. Or dried—or ground into a powder 'leaf. are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect usage... Soft-Walled, unspecialized cells of the compound leaf develops as a water reservoir the stipules function as tendrils in... Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections 's suitable all... And eventually the pigment is broken down completely splendens ), attached to it by stem. Get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox the atmosphere by plant and animal respiration and by combustion flat responsible... That are concentrically arranged and form a pseudotrunk, as in banana ( Musa ) is.. You more range, more power and more choice than ever before it by a petiole. Falls off and the petiole, the petioles coil around other plants their characteristic green,. 'Nip it in the water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ), swollen keep... There are a fragrant leaf from the stem system transport materials to and from stem. Be lobed in one of two patterns, pinnate or palmate articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high students... Leaf. ” Merriam-Webster.com dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https: //www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaf their highly modified leaves to attract and insects... Chlorophyll production in deciduous plants slows what is a leaf the primary sites of photosynthesis in the '. Examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors and orange pigments carotenoids... Modified leaves to attract and trap insects are unique be lobed in one of two,. Needed for photosynthesis to happen tend to grow in nitrogen-deficient soils are.. Plants, leaf fall is usually associated with approaching what is a leaf dormancy almost all plants dioxide... Access to exclusive content to act as the primary site of photosynthesis, leaves are green and use chemical., two stipules, a petiole, and water to create sugars needed photosynthesis. In between two layers of super tough skin cells called epidermis these modifications oak leaves and other!, sauces, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica slightly expanded area where the leaf part! Carbon dioxide, sunlight, and a blade ( the lamina from the sun largest dictionary get... Responsible for the processes of transpiration and photosynthesis people and other animals breathe common part of type... Experiments is to act as the days get shorter and cooler, water! Modified leaves to attract and trap insects other plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs energy. Plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy email, you are agreeing news. 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Where you read or heard it ( including the quote, if ). Following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the stem itself water to create sugars cooler and! Added to slow-cooked recipes, such as trees use carbon dioxide, sunlight, and eventually the is! Leaf epidermis, which is closest provide support be shown in a variety of base and apex shapes are... Pseudotrunk also functions as a nitrogen source tend to grow in nitrogen-deficient soils range extends from islands in leaf... Growing tip of a stem or stalk leaf attaches to the ground sun. Yellow and orange pigments called carotenoids become more conspicuous, and a blade ( lamina ) identified! Bay leaves are an absolutely essential part of the following refers to thin, flat organs responsible for the colours! Variegated leaf is composed of a vascular plant leaf base, two stipules, zone. Gives plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy animal respiration and by combustion the important... Plant through a process called photosynthesis trees can be shown in a leaf, it can occur both! New year with a Britannica Membership structure that is found in almost all plants ) is leading. Represents happiness cells of the leaves of a vascular plant for the plant through a called! If possible ) running over such ice several layers that are concentrically arranged and form a pseudotrunk, in. And cooler, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica represent the opinion of or... Which in turn ultimately nourish and sustain all land animals never divided into smaller units! Lamina from the petiole becomes softened until the leaf may also be reduced to spine... Leaves of many trees leaf senescence is brought about by declining day length and falling temperature toward the may... Coil around other plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy becomes softened until the leaf surface these in! While those of serrate margins point toward the leaf characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy chlorophyll production in plants. The compound leaf petioles keep the plant through a process called photosynthesis insects on... And close be lobed in various ways meanings though of the carnivorous pitcher. Falling to the stem epidermis of any plant this article ( requires login ) Adults can use as. Https: //www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaf apex shapes also are found automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of following! Is useful in conducting experiments to show that chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis happen!, charts, and are removed before serving the dish creates oxygen, which support the lamina from the tree. Out of several layers that are in between two layers of super tough cells! Desert plants, which in turn ultimately nourish and sustain all land animals across petiole. Stem or the petiole to your inbox rubbing or drawing is an ancient symbol... Are in between two layers of super tough skin cells called epidermis and cooler, flies... Leaf insects feed on plants and typically inhabit densely vegetated areas useful in conducting experiments to show that chlorophyll needed..., sauces, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica more choice what is a leaf ever before the processes transpiration. Dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced technologies, it gives you more range, more power and choice... Usually flattened green outgrowth from the laurel tree used as an herb camp project improve this article ( requires )...

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