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Arrangement of Leaves on Stem

Arrangement of leaves on a stem is called as Phyllotaxy. There are several methods that plants use to arrange leaves on their stem. It is basically 4 ways as,

Alternate

In this arrangement, leaves are arranged alternatively on the stem with one leaf per node in a straight line.

Breynia retusa showing alternate leaf arrangement

Opposite

Here, two leaves arise from a single node in opposite fashion.

An example for opposite leaves

Spiral

Only one leaf is present per node as in alternate arrangement. But, the leaves are arranged as a spiral which would be visible if you look down at the apex of the stem.

Euphorbia rothiana showing spiral leaf arrangement

Whorled

Multiple leaves arise from a single node and each nodes are separated by huge internodes.

Wendlandia showing whorled leaves

Other arrangements include Subopposite and Deccusate.

Subopposite

Here, the leaves are arranged in such a fashion that they are neither spaced far enough to be considered as alternate nor exactly opposite enough to consider as opposite.

Look carefully and closely at the leaflets. They are neither opposite nor alternate!

Deccusate

This is where two leaves arise from a same node (opposite) in each nodes. The pairs are placed in right angles to each other.

Tags : Botany ConceptsLeaves

4 Comments

  1. Wow, finally a great botany blog in India. Great content!! I am not a botanist but love wildflowers 🌻🌻

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I have to start spending more time on giving more information on this blog. You have a great blog! Most of the places you’ve visited are still on my bucket list! πŸ™

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