Vegetative Structure of Seed Plants-Leaf, Biology tutorial


A leaf is the above-ground plant organ specialized for the procedure of photosynthesis. For this aim, a leaf is in general flat (that is, laminar) and thin. There is a continuous debate regarding whether the flatness of leaves evolved to expose the chloroplasts to more light or to rise the absorption of carbon-dioxide. In both case, the adaption was build up at the expenditure of water loss. In the Devonian period, when then concentration of carbon-dioxide was at several times its present value, plants didn't have leaves or flat stems. The leaves of gymnosperms and angiosperms are variously termed to as macrophyll, megaphylls and euphylls. Leaves are as well the sites in most plants where transpiration and guttation occur. Leaves can store water and food and are transformed in some plants for other purposes. The comparable structures of ferns are properly termed to as fronds.

Moreover, leaves are well-known in the human diet as leaf vegetables.

Anatomy of Leaf:

A structurally complete leaf of the angiosperm comprises of a petiole (that is, leaf stem), a lamina (that is, leaf blade) and stipules (that is, small processes positioned to either side of the base of the petiole). The petiole joins to the stem at a point termed as the leaf axil. Not each and every species produces leaves having all of the aforementioned structural components. In some species, paired stipules are not evident or are absent altogether. A petiole might be absent or the blade might not be laminar (that is, flattened). The tremendous diversity in the leaf structure (or anatomy) varies from species to species. After a time-period (that is, seasonally, all through autumn), deciduous trees shed their leaves. Such leaves then decompose into the soil.

A leaf is considered as a plant organ and in general comprises of the tissues as:

1) An epidermis which covers the lower and upper surfaces.

2) An interior chlorenchyma termed as the mesophyll.

3) An arrangement of veins (that is, the vascular tissue).


The epidermis is the outer multi-layered group of the cells covering leaf. It makes the boundary separating the inner cells of the plant from the external world. The epidermis serves up many functions: protection against loss of water, regulation of gas exchange, secretion of the metabolic compounds and in several species water absorption. Most of the leaves exhibit dorsoventral anatomy: the upper (adaxial) and lower (abaxial) surfaces have somewhat dissimilar construction and might serve up diverse functions.

The epidermis is generally transparent and coated on the external side having a waxy cuticle which prevents water loss. The cuticle is in some circumstances thinner on the lower epidermis than on the upper epidermis, and is thicker on leaves from the dry climates as compared with such from wet climates.

The epidermis tissue comprises some differentiated cell types: epidermal cells, guard cells, subsidiary cells and epidermal hairs. The epidermal cells are the largest and least specialized. These are usually more lengthened in the leaves of monocots than in such of dicots.

The epidermis is covered by pores termed as stomata, part of a stoma complex comprising of a pore surrounded on each side through chloroplast having guard cells and two to four subsidiary cells which lack chloroplasts. The stoma complex regulates the exchange of water-vapor and gases among the outside air and the interior of the leaf. In general, the stomata are more in number over the abaxial (that is, lower) epidermis than the adaxial (that is, upper) epidermis.


Most of the interior of the leaf between the lower and upper layers of epidermis is a parenchyma (that is, ground tissue) or chlorenchyma tissue is termed as the mesophyll (In Greek means middle leaf). This assimilation tissue is the primary position of photosynthesis in the plant. The products of photosynthesis are termed as assimilates.

In most of the flowering plants the mesophyll is classified into two layers:

1) An upper palisade layer of tightly packed vertically lengthened cells, one to two cells thick, directly beneath the adaxial epidermis. Its cells have many more chloroplasts than the spongy layer. Such long cylindrical cells are regularly arranged in 1-5 rows. Cylindrical cells having the chloroplasts close to the walls of the cell, can take optimal benefit of light. The slight separation of the cells gives maximum absorption of the carbon-dioxide

2) Beneath the palisade layer is the spongy layer. The cells of spongy layer are more rounded and not so tightly packed. There are big intercellular air spaces. Such cells include fewer chloroplasts than those of the palisade layer.


The veins are the vascular tissue of the leaf and are positioned in the spongy layer of the mesophyll. They are typical illustrations of pattern formation via ramification. The pattern of the veins is termed as venation.

The veins are building up of:

  • Xylem: tubes which brings minerals and water from the roots into the leaf.
  • Phloem: tubes which generally move sap having dissolved sucrose, produced by photosynthesis in the leaf, out of the leaf.

Leaf morphology:

External leaf features (like shape, margin, hairs and so on) are significant for recognizing plant species and botanists have built up a rich terminology for explaining leaf features. These structures are a portion of what makes leaves determinant; they grow and accomplish a particular shape and pattern, then stop. Other plant parts such as roots or stems are non-determinant and will generally continue to grow as long as they encompass the resources to do so.

Categorization of leaves can take place via lots of different designative schema, and the kind of leaf is in general characteristic of a species, however some species produce more than one kind of leaf. The longest kind of leaf is a leaf from palm trees, measuring at nine feet long.

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