Fieldnotes
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The Anatomy of Leaves in 5 Minutes

As I sit typing here I am looking at my bunch of bluebells and debating on the leaf structure (my guess is basal, simple leaves).  As previously mentioned, I am taking a course on local flora taught by Dr. H____, of the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

I hope that he will not mind my sharing with my blog readers some of what we are learning this semester about flora:

Leaves have three basic structures along the stem of a plant.  They can be:

  • more or less parallel, “opposite”
  • they can alternate
  • they can also cluster together in what’s called a “whorl” but which reminds me of a spiral pattern.

They also have two basic structure types:

  • simple — a single leaf that can have either smooth edges or rough edges (serrated or denate depending on the slant of the leaf edge).
  • complex — a leaf with multiple leaves in it, officially, they’re called “leaflets”.  Based on the structure, it can be either a palm-like leaf, known as a “palmate” or a feather-like structure, called a “pinnate”.

Oh, and something else kind of neat…apparently the stem of the leaf that attaches to a twig or branch is called a “petiole“.  Okay, so now you’ve got a basic idea of some of the elements of leaf structure.

It’s a beautiful weekend.  Go for a walk.  I would encourage anyone in the area to stop by the gardens and check out the wonderful array of blooms in season.  As a follow-up, I may also be adding a media gallery to this site of images gathered from my visits to the gardens!

This entry was posted in: Fieldnotes

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Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has seventeen years of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). Lauren is the Managing Web Editor and writer for The Scribe, a web publication of the St. Louis Writers Guild, where she also serves as their Director of Communications. She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at LaurenJoanMiller.com.

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