Monday, September 21, 2009

Love those Leaves

Passion Flower
Ornamental Sweet Potato

Variegated Ivy

All leaves have their own personality, especially the ones from different plants.  The above  three leaves have three or five lobes, but on closer examination are quite different.  The Passion Flower leaf reaches its veins into each of the three lobes and has parallel veins, while the Sweet Potato treats each lobe as part of the larger leaf and does not have parallel veins.  The colors of the Ivy almost obscure the veins in this leaf.

At the expense of not getting too technical in this post, I will describe some leaves and leave the others for you to notice the difference. It's only because of this post that I've started to recall some of my high school biology and look at leaves as individuals again.  It's so easy to see the flowers and forget about the leaves that engender them.

Polka-dot plant

Some leaves are more spectacular than the flower, as the above two.  The Polka-dot leaf has veins that do not follow the pattern of the pink color, while the Caladium does. The Caladium looks as if its sap ran deep pink in the middle of the leaf.

Australian Tree Fern

Staghorn Fern Frond
 Mother Fern Leaflet


The ferns are a world all their own.  Leaflets grow off of the main stem in different shapes and sizes.  The spores on the back of the Mother Fern leaflet can form new ferns.  I love the gentle curve of this leaflet.

Yarrow Leaf
Boston Fern Leaf

But even ferns are similar to the leaves themselves, as in the two leaves shown above.  The Yarrow may have a more complex form, but both leaves grow out from a central stem. 

Cranesbill Geranium

Plumbago Groundcover in Fall

These leaves show the different colors that leaves can have. The colors in the last two photos show on the leaves in different places, some year-round, some due to their exposure to the sun or the turning of leaves in fall. The succulents have no visible veins.

Mexican Heather
Hen and Chickens Succulent

Some leaves form a recognizable form, while others have their on creative chaos.

 Purple Oxalis

Two of my favorite leaves. Seen close the Forget-me-not has a wonderful contrast of colors.  The various colors and the form of the oxalis speak for themselves.


Rosey Pollen said...

Mary Delle,
Such a variety of beautiful leaves. I have to say Ferns are my favorite. But hens and chicks are pretty awesome!

Nature's Beauty said...

Great collection of leaves. I think we sometimes overlook the leaves and think only about the blooms.

Gail said...

Beautiful leaf story and delightful photographs! The oxalis is the best of my favorite little plants for a spot of color and my plumbago is turning red, too. gail

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

I'm nutty about foliage! All sorts... but when it comes to purple tones and shapely leaves, well, then I simply swoon! Alice

Frances said...

So cool, Mary. I must have glazed over that part of high school biology, for I know nothing about leaves from back then. Your photos are great and the tree fern shot shot straight to my insides! Thanks. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that purple oxalis is fabulous. You reminded me that my oxalis has gone missing over the summer. I guess I'll have replant with that variety!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Caladium is gorgeous! Every single leaf has something special in it. Very nice post. BTW, did you get my e-mail?

Sukhmandir Kaur said...

Beautiful collection of leaves. Each more stunning then the next. Such a variety we share the planet with. Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing Happy WW

lynn'sgarden said...

Mary, these photos are awesome! Like Frances, I LOVE the tree fern shot! In my highschool biology class...we used to go hiking in southern calif. and study wild flowers..thanks for the memory jog ;)

Carol said...

Lovely post Mary! We live with our plant leaves longer than our flowers. Great photos of beautiful leaves! A subject of great interest to me. Carol

Jo said...

Some leaves are really stunning. I love the Oxalis.

wiseacre said...

Up close and personal the forget-me-not leaf is striking. Something easily overlooked when the plant is in bloom. The outlined margin keeping the veins in place is cool

Thanks for the large images so I could get a good look, love the Purple Oxalis

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the wonderful foliage eye candy. I'm still in the learning and planning stages of my garden and I'm really looking for great foliage. I've seen so many pretty flowers that have barely any foliage.

Raji said...

Great foliage collection ..polka-dot -plant leaf is beautiful..I have yet to see one in real life..purple oxalis is different ..I have a regular oen , but that one has four leaves on each stem..
I really got interested reading your previous post about 'talking to plants"..even surprised to hear that 'tomato plants grew faster when read to"...I am going to try that ..nice post.

Thank you for visiting my blog....I shud have named it 'little surprises' like you commented

Nature Lovers Meeting Place said...

I am glad to see that you love leaves as well. Very interesting shapes and colours and lines. Welcome to Nature Lovers. I have a meeting place for them if you like to join.

Kiki said...

What a gorgeous post! I love exploring foliage..yes every leaf is so unique! Wonderful I looved that! Beautiful photos!!I am obsessed with foliage too!

Thomas said...

Very nice selection of foliage! I'm always curious to see what grows in other parts of the country. My favorite is the polka-dot plant.

James Missier said...

What a lovely collection of foliage. The fern that you mentioned as ?? is actually growing in my place, and where the hen had laid her eggs. I found out that the name is Petticoat Fern. They also have root balls.