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Types of Leaf Patterns

Monica Wachman
Monica Wachman has been writing since 1979. Much of her work has been in travel, history and the natural sciences. She is a former editor for FishersTravelSOS and house writer for EasyRez.com. She has a degree in Travel and Tourism from Career Com Technical Schools and has been in this industry since 1989.
Tree leaf patterns refer to the appearance of the veins that carry water and nutrients to the different parts of the leaf. These veins also help to provide structure for the leaf, acting as a sort of skeleton. Leaf patterns can be as complex as a spiderweb or as simple as a straight line. They can be visible to the naked eye or be completely enclosed and out of sight.

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Pinnate Vein Pattern

A pinnate vein pattern is one of the net-veined patterns found in the


majority of broad leaves. The word pinnate means feather-like. This pattern is characterized by a central vein, known as the midrib, with smaller veins branching out from it. Examples of plants that have this type of leaf pattern are elm and birch trees. Palmate Vein Pattern

Rather than one central midrib, a palmate vein pattern has several main
ribs branching out from the base of the leaf at the stem. Tinier veins branch off from each of the main ribs, resembling a hand with the fingers spread apart. Sycamore and maple trees have leaves that are palmate. This is another example of net-veining.

PARALLEL-VEINED-LEAVES: In HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_P/dictionary_pa veined leaves, numerous veins run essentially parallel to each other and are connected laterally by minute, straight HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_V/dictionary_ve Parallel-veined leaves occur most often on HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_M/dictionary_m plants. The most common type of parallel veining is found in plants of the HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_P/dictionary_po whose veins run from the leaf's HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_B/dictionary_ba to its HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_A/dictionary_ap Another type of parallel venation is found in plants such as banana, calla, and pickerelweed, whose veins run laterally from the HYPERLINK "http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_M/dictionary_m

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The venation is the characteristic arrangement of veins in a leaf.

There are lots of different types of leaf venation that are important for plant identification. The term venation refers to how veins are distributed in the leaf blade, Usually lamina comprise anastomotic veins that are veins ending in a closed point (e.g. terminating or fused in a leaf apex) while "non"-anastomotic veins which endings are free are quite infrequent. There are two principal types of venation: parallel-veined and reticulatedveined:

The veins on monocots are almost parallel to the margins of the leaf whereas in dicots radiate from a central primary midvein that gives rise to secondary or lateral veins and in turn tertiary veins and veinlets

PARALLEL-VEINED-LEAVES: In parallel-veined leaves, numerous veins run essentially parallel to each other and are connected laterally by minute, straight veinlets. Parallel-veined leaves occur most often on monocotyledonous plants. The most common type of parallel veining is found in plants of the grass family, whose veins run from the leaf's base to its apex. Another type of parallel venation is found in plants such as banana, calla, and pickerelweed, whose veins run laterally from the midrib. RETICULASTED-VEINED-LEAVES: In reticulate-veined leaves (also called netveined), veins branch from the main rib or ribs and subdivide into finer veinlets. These veinlets then unite in a complicated network. This system of enmeshed veins makes the leaf more resistant to tearing than does a parallel vein structure. Net-veined leaves occur on dicotyledonous plants. Net venation may be either pinnate or palmate. In pinnate venation, the veins extend laterally from the midrib to the edge . In palmate venation, the principal veins extend outward, like the ribs of a fan, from the base of the leaf blade .

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Parallel Vein Pattern

Long, thin leaves do not have net-vein patterns. The large, main veins run parallel to the leaf from stem to tip. These main veins are connected by tiny cross veins. The bigger the leaf, the more main veins are found. On larger leaves, such as the rye plant, the main veins usually can be seen with the naked eye. Needles, such as those found on the white pine tree, hide their veins within their central core. These needles are only wide enough to accommodate one or two veins.

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Many species of monocots have leaf bases that completely encircle the stem, thus forming a sheath. The layers of an onion bulb (members of the Alliaceae family) are leaves of this type. In the leaf blades of most monocots the major strands of vascular tissue (the veins) are parallel to each other. In this manner they differ from the typically reticulate or netlike system of veins that occurs in most dicots, where the major veins branch and diverge, with many of the branches meeting. There are exceptions, and a reticulate leaf venation system occurs in some groups of monocots, such as the aroid family (Araceae), which includes skunk cabbage, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and philodendron, the latter of which is frequently grown as a houseplant. An unusual variant form of parallel leaf venation occurs in a group of mono-cots that includes the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and the banana family(Musaceae). In these families, as exemplified by the leaf of the banana plant, there is a bundle of parallel veins along the midrib of the leaf, and these diverge in succession toward the margin of the leaf, the result being a characteristic pinnate-parallel leaf venation pattern. In most monocots, the floral parts occur in multiples of three. One example is the tulip, which has six petals (often called tepals, since there is no clear

differentiation of sepals and petals), six stamens, and a pistil with three chambers or locules, representing the three carpels. The pollen grains of monocots also differ from those of most dicots. In monocots, each pollen grain has just one thin-walled region, the colpus, which is the area from which the pollen tube emerges when the pollen grain germinates. Most dicots, in contrast, have three such regions. This thin area of the pollen wall often takes the form of a single elongate furrow, or sulcus, that extends most of the length of the pollen grain. Bailey, L. H. Manual of Cultivated Plants. New York: Macmillan, 1949. Dahlgren, R. M. T., H. T. Clifford, and P. F. Yeo. The Families of Monocotyledons. New York: Springer-Verlag. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Wilson, K. L., and D. A. Morrison, eds. Monocots: Systematics and Evolution. Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publications, 2000.