Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois 

Prairie Plant Terminology — Leaves

leaf1.jpg leaf.jpg

Leaves are lateral appendages on a stem. They usually serve as the primary photosynthetic surface of the plant. Leaves of different plant species exhibit great variety in size, complexity, and arrangement as well as their kinds of tips, margins, and bases.

Leaves commonly consist of a flattened portion, the blade, joined to the stem by a stalk, or petiole, at which junction anaxillary bud can be found (not visible here). In addition, there may be twostipules (scale-like or leaf-like structures) at the base of the petiole.

On this photo of downy hawthorn, Crataegus mollis the two stipules are well-developed; they are leaf-like, but stipules can also have other various shapes.


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