Botany/Leaves (forms)

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Chapter 3. Plant Cells and Tissues
Leaves (forms)

Leaf Shapes, Margins, Apices, and Bases[edit | edit source]

Simple, Angiosperm Leaves[edit | edit source]

This page presents the terminology used to describe the shapes and forms of leaves. The following examples are all simple leaves. All are from flowering plants (angiosperms). Descriptive terms are given for the lamina shape (that is, its overall shape in outline), the lamina margin, the form or shape of both the apex (tip) and the base (lamina junction with petiole) of the leaf, and (in some cases) other qualities evident in the example picture presented.

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1. Chamaesyce celastroides

1. 'Akoko

SHAPE: oblong to elliptic
MARGIN: entire
TIP: retuse
BASE: rounded

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3. Ageratina riparia

2. Mist flower

SHAPE: rhombic
MARGIN: serrate
TIP: attenuate
BASE: cuneate

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2. indet.

3. indet.

SHAPE: ovate
MARGIN: crenate
TIP: acute
BASE: ~ rounded
OTHER: color bright green

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4. Ficus religiosa

4. Bo tree

SHAPE: cordate
MARGIN: entire, slightly undulate
TIP: caudate
BASE: cordate

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Macadamia sp.

5. Macadamia nut
SHAPE: linear
MARGIN: undulate and spinose
TIP: (not visible) acute

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Richardia brasiliensis

MARGIN: lobes ciliate
TIP: acute

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SHAPE: linear
MARGIN: entire
TIP: acute

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Coronopus didymus

SHAPE: oblong in outline, deeply pinnatifid
MARGIN: lobes dentate
TIP: (not visible) acute

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Ammania auriculata

SHAPE: linear
MARGIN: entire
TIP: acute

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Myriophyllum aquaticum

SHAPE: pinnatifid, segments capillary
OTHER: leaves whorled

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Brachiaria mutica

SHAPE: linear
MARGIN: entire
TIP: acute
OTHER: Base sheathing

Compound, Angiosperm Leaves[edit | edit source]

These examples are all compound leaves. In these leaves, it is not always very instructive to describe the "leaf outline" and better to describe the number (or range) of leaflets. If the number is odd, there will be an unpaired leaflet at the tip. The shape terminology can be applied to the individual leaflets.

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Canavalia sericea

Silky jackbean
SHAPE: orbicular to elliptic
MARGIN: entire
TIP: obtuse
BASE: obtuse

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Toona ciliata

Australian redcedar
SHAPE: lanceolate to elliptic
MARGIN: entire
TIP: cuspidate
BASE: oblique

Links[edit | edit source]

Botanical Terms