What is the stem of the leaf?

The leaf stalk can be very long

Image – Wikimedia/David J. Stang

When one wants to know more about plants, it is interesting to learn the name of all its parts. This can be useful, for example, if you suspect that you are ill and want to do your best to recover, as you should take into account that depending on the type of product you are using and the affected part, you will have to apply it in one way or another. Knowing this, It is important for you to know that the leaf stem is usually one of the most vulnerable.

But what is the stem of the leaf? There are many plants that do not have one, others instead develop a very long and sturdy one. In some cases, if they have it, it won’t be green as you might expect, but a different color, like many Colocasia cultivars, for example.


What is the technical name of the leaf stem?

Parts of a leaf described in an image

Her name is petiole. It is the part that connects the leaf to the stem of the plant. it’s grassy, so it is very fragile. There is a reason for this, and it is quite simple. To facilitate understanding, I will give you the example of a deciduous tree.

When the temperatures start to drop, it stops providing them with food, so we can see that the color of their leaves changes: in many cases, as happens with maples or ash trees, green gives way to different shades of red, yellow and/or or oranges; then they turn brown (at this point they are completely dry, lifeless) and… what happens? so what the slightest breeze lets them fall easily, because the petiole is tender, and also has not received food for a long time.

And not only that, but when the leaves fall to the ground, they do so very close to the trunk. It is very interesting, because When the tree decomposes, it will be able to recover some of the nutrients it used to produce them.. It is for this reason that I think that removing these dead leaves is not the most appropriate, because ultimately we are talking about something that will end up being a fertilizer for the plant. But let’s not get distracted.

There are certain types of plant beings that do not have woody or, in many cases, semi-woody stems: grasses (including megaphorbs, such as palms and bananas) and bushes (or subshrubs ) such as lavender fall into this group. . Do they have petioles? It depends on the species. Lavender, for example, does not haveInstead, the leaves grow directly from the main stem. But many others yespalms, bananas, ensets, alocasias and colocasias, and a large number of plants have them.

When a leaf has a stem that connects it to another stem, be it the branch or the trunk, for example, it is said to be a petiolate leaf; otherwise it is said to have seated leaves, as this could give the impression that it is “settling” on the stem.

What types of leaf stalks are there?

Really more than different types of stems, we need to look at what the leaf that grows from them looks like. For example, four types are distinguished:

There are several types of petioles


But, as you can see, the petiole performs the function of keeping the leaf attached to the rest of the plant, at least until said leaf reaches the end of its life.

His homeworks ?

There are plants that have large leaves

Image – Flickr/Jungel Rebel

I commented on one, which is the most basic, but really, without a petiole, many plants couldn’t “hold” their leaves. I will therefore deepen this subject, because the functions of this rod may surprise us:

Attach the leaf to the stem

It all starts here. The petiole keeps the leaf attached to the rest of the plant, and with it, allows it to live and perform its normal functions.. But beware, for this to really be possible you will need the support of a healthy root system, because after all they are the ones responsible for seeking water and nutrients and promoting them to the rest of the plant a once they find them.

keeps the leaf alive

Even if it’s temporary, but as long as they’re alive, the plant will provide them with water and food (nutrients). These will reach the leaves through the conductive vessels (they would be something like the veins of our body) in the form of raw sap. Once they reach their destination, they will be transformed into food and return to the roots in the form of elaborate sap. And all this thanks, I insist, to the petiole.

Related article:

What is raw sap and processed sap

Allows plants to have large leaves

This point is closely related to the first thing we talked about. But, even if it may seem logical, we don’t always think about it. Many plants that we have in our homes or gardens are tropical or subtropical. They live in hot regions, where the temperatures remain high and where, in addition, it rains frequently, so they can afford to have huge leaves. And it is that, the bigger they are, the more light they can capture and the more food they can make. But this They could only do this if they had stems that were not only herbaceous, but also sturdy.

Our dear elephant ear (Alocasia macrorrhizos) is a clear example. But there are many, many more: among others, the Colocasia, the delicious monsteraor palm trees, plants that develop leaves whose length often exceeds three meters.

For this reason, although it can often be overlooked, care must be taken to ensure that the leaf stalk remains well, healthy, because without it the plants could lack foliage.

Leave a Comment