• January 24, 2020

GARDENING: Leaf anatomy - Odessa American: Gardening

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GARDENING: Leaf anatomy

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 12:45 am

When you think leaves you should think photosynthesis. They are the primary organ of the plant where photosynthesis takes place. The structure of a leaf consists of the flat leaf blade that is attached to the plant by a structure called the petiole. Leaves have two structures, the typical leaf you think of which a single undivided blade is are called simple. The other type of leaf is called a compound leaf, this is composed of leaflets, the most common compound leaf you have probably seen is a pecan leaf.

On the outer surface of a leaf you may have noticed a shiny waxy layer, this is called the cuticle. The purpose of the cuticle is to prevent water loss within the leaf. Underneath the cuticle is the layer of cells called the epidermis, like our skin. The vascular tissue is also in the leaf as the veins, the vascular tissue is what is responsible for transporting the water and nutrients through the xylem (water transport) and phloem (sugar transport).

When looking at leaves you can determine if your plant is a monocot or a dicot. Monocots have veins that run parallel. I always think of the number one 1, it is just a straight line, so if you see a leaf with veins that look like ‘ones’ then you are looking at a monocot. Dicots on the other hand have netlike veins, which is what people commonly think of when they think of a leaf.

Leaves are what helps produce food for the plant so knowing a bit more about the structure and how they work can help home gardeners remember the importance of having healthy leaves to have a healthy plant.

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