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The basic angiosperm leaf is composed of a leaf base, two stipules, a petiole, and a blade lamina. The leaf base is the slightly expanded area where the leaf attaches to the stem.
The paired stipules, when present, are located on each side of… Typically, a leaf consists of a broad expanded blade the laminaattached to the plant stem by a stalklike petiole.
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. Veins, which support the lamina and transport materials to and from the leaf tissues, radiate through the lamina from the petiole.
The types of venation are characteristic of different kinds of plants: The leaf may be simple—with a single blade—or compound—with separate leaflets; it may also be reduced to a spine or scale. The species is poisonous because of the sap it emits.
JMK plant colorationAn explanation of how structures inside the leaf contribute to plant coloration. The main function of a leaf is to produce food for the plant by photosynthesis. Chlorophyllthe substance that gives plants their characteristic green colour, absorbs light energy.
The internal structure of the leaf is protected by the leaf epidermiswhich is continuous with the stem epidermis. The central leaf, or mesophyllconsists of soft-walled, unspecialized cells of the type known as parenchyma.
As much as one-fifth of the mesophyll is composed of chlorophyll-containing chloroplastswhich absorb sunlight and, in conjunction with certain enzymesuse the radiant energy in decomposing water into its elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen liberated from green leaves replaces the oxygen removed from the atmosphere by plant and animal respiration and by combustion.
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.
Oxygen is passed into the atmosphere through stomata —pores in the leaf surface. In autumn chlorophyll production slows as the days get shorter and cooler. As the remaining chlorophyll breaks down and fades, the colours of other pigments are revealed. These include carotene yellowxanthophyll pale yellowanthocyanin red if the sap is slightly acidic, bluish if it is slightly alkaline, with intermediate shades betweenand betacyanin red.
Tannins give oak leaves their dull brown colour. Pigments other than chlorophyll give this maple leaf its autumn colours. 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.
The fall of leaves, whether in the first autumn in deciduous trees or after several years in evergreens, results from the formation of a weak zone, the abscission layerat the base of the petiole.
Abscission layers may form when leaves are seriously damaged by insects, disease, or drought. Their normal formation in autumn appears to be, in part at least, due to the shortening of the day. Perhaps the shorter days accentuate the senile changes normal in older leaves.
As a result, a zone of cells across the petiole becomes softened until the leaf falls. 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.Saatva’s Lineal Base Option.
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