Plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not surprisingly, the leaves of various plants have a variety of shapes as well. Knowing how to describe how plants look is important for plant identification, understanding plant biology, and becoming a better gardener. This is an introductory tip and not meant to cover all aspects of leaf shapes. For additional information, check out some more resources online, talk to your local garden center. Without further ado, here are four main characteristics when describing leaves:

1. Shape
Shape refers to the overall look of the leaf. Examples include round, heart shaped and needles. Below are what are few of these shapes look like.

Leaf_morphology shape

2. Margin (edges)
Margin refers to the edge of the leaf. Examples include smooth, toothed and lobed. Below are a few examples of various leaf margins

Leaf_morphology margin

3. Venation
Venation refers to the arrangement of veins running through the leaf. Examples include parallel and netlike. Below are a few examples of a few kinds of plan venation.

Leaf_morphology venation

4. Arrangement
Arrangement generally refers to how it is attached to the stem of the plant. Examples include alternate, opposite, and whorled.

leaf arrangement

More details and specific classifications can be found here:

Here are a two examples from the world of edible plants:

Leaves are round in shape, have a smooth margin, have netlike venation, and have an alternate arrangement on the stem

nasturtium leaf

Leaves are often traingular in shape, have a smooth margin, netlike venation, and have opposite arrangement

Scotch bonnet peppers

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