Botanists and horticulturists have quite a vocabulary for leaves, and all of the little things that make them different. For instance, have you ever noticed that some leaves have sharp edges and that others are smooth? Or that some leaves are really shiny and others are kind of dull? Botanists count on these differences to help them properly identify plants.
This should help give you a whole new vocabulary to talk about leaves-or complain about raking.
Did you know the bright colors of autumn leaves are there throughout the year, but we just can't see them? Leaves "change" colors when cooler weather degrades the green pigments in a leaf (chlorophyll) to the point where other colors can show through.
A leaf-like structure, but it's only part of a leaf. Green ash, horse chestnut, and Virginia creeper, for instance, have leaves made up of several leaflets.
This is a leaf that's made up of leaflets. The two most common types of compound leaf are palmately compound (where the leaflets are arranged something like fingers around a hand) and pinnately compound (where the leaflets are arranged something like a feather).
A simple leaf is one with no leaflets. An oak leaf is a simple leaf.
A lobed leaf has points that stick out from the general shape of the leaf. Remember tracing the outline of your hand when you were a kind? The "fingers" on your drawing looked like leaf lobes. Many kinds of oak leaves are lobed, as are maples. Many leaves that have lobes also have what horticulturists call "sinuses," which are areas of a leaf that look like they've been cut out. Think back to your hand drawing; the "valleys" between your fingers would be sinuses.
The leaf has smooth edges around it without lobes or cuts. Most lilacs have entire leaves.
These leaves have sharp edges with jagged little "teeth" on them. Elm leaves are have serrated edges.
These leaves have slighted rounded edges on the outside of the leaf. Coleus leaves are often scalloped.
If you look across one of these leaves, you'll see that it is kind of wavy looking, instead of being flat. Many witch hazels have undulate leaves.
These leaves have a whitish, grayish, or bluish coating to them. If you hold one of these leaves between your fingers and rub, the coating on them will come off. The coating itself is known as bloom.
These leaves look as if they are covered in fine hair. African violet leaves are pubescent.
These leaves are smooth and hairless. Most banana leaves are glabrous.
These leaves are multicolored. The leaves may show several shades of green or even other colors, such as pink, white, yellow, orange, or red. Many hostas have variegated leaves.