Leaves can be spherical, oval, spear-shaped, heart-shaped, or triangular in form. Some of the leaves resemble the fingers of a hand. Others have needle-like shapes. Some leaves have rounded edges. Others have sharp points or stiff bristles.
Spherical: Such leaves look like balls. They fall when their stalks break under their own weight. Spherical leaves are found on plants in the watermelon family, such as muskmelons and cantaloupes.
Oval: These leaves are shaped like eggs. They drop off the stalk naturally when they are mature enough to do so. Oval leaves are found on plants in the cabbage family, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts.
Spear-shaped: Like spears thrown from a spearhead, these leaves stick out straight from the stem. They fall when the plant reaches maturity and go to seed. Spear-shaped leaves are found on plants in the carrot family, such as carrots and parsnips.
Heart-shaped: The name really explains itself. These leaves look like hearts. They usually have three veins running vertically down the center of the leaf from which it gets its name. Heart-shaped leaves are found on plants in the dandelion family, such as dandelions and chicories.
The form of a leaf can vary greatly. Oval, truncate, elliptical, lancolate, and linear are the most prevalent shapes. Leaf tips and bases may also be one-of-a-kind, with names derived from their forms. For example, reniform refers to a shape that looks like a small star; rosette means "round head" because of its resemblance to a flower head; and palmately means "with leaflets," since the leaf usually has 5 or more segments.
Oval: Leaves that are almost completely rounded at both ends; sometimes called ball leaves. The center may be flat or slightly sunken. Often found on plants that grow in water such as flowers, flags, and mossy plants. Most fruits and some vegetables belong to this group of plants. Truncate: Leaves that are cut off close to the stem without any kind of a tip; also called dead simplex. Examples include oak leaves and lettuce leaves. They are used by plants that need to keep their resources concentrated on growing instead of on protecting themselves against predators. This reduction in protection allows the plant to put all its energy into growth. Elliptical: Leaves that have two straight sides and two curved sides; also called asymmetric. Examples include maple and holly leaves. Linear: Leaves that are long and slender with only two bends; also called narrow-leaved. Examples include cottonwood and willow leaves.
Consider the form of the leaf when recognizing flowers by their leaves. The form of the leaf might be round, oval, or oblong, lance-shaped, or elliptic. The vein pattern in the leaf might also assist you determine the sort of plant you're working with. Are the veins aligned? If so, you have a herbaceous plant; if not, you have a woody plant.
In addition to these characteristics, consider how mature the leaves are. Young plants will have fresh, glossy green leaves, while older plants may have some of their leaves fall off. Any part of the plant can give away information about its maturity level, so take note of any changes that occur throughout the year. If your plant is healthy and thriving, but suddenly starts to wilt when you apply pressure to it, this is a sign that it's been exposed to moisture in the soil or air at some point.
Finally, smell the leaf. Not only will this help you identify what kind of plant you've got, but it'll also provide you with information about its health. Fresh herbs make for a delicious addition to your food, but if they smell like moth balls or are otherwise unfit for use, there are other options available that don't require cooking.
Overall, considering the shape, size, maturity level, and odor of the leaf will help you identify most flowering plants.
Leaves that are lobed, toothed, or whole. The general form of the leaf around its margins is an essential technique to recognize different types of tree leaves. The margins of leaves form patterns that are typically distinctive to the tree species and aid in identification. These recognizable shapes are called "lepidotes" by botanists.
Some leaf types are difficult to distinguish without a microscope. These include some types of oak and beech leaves and some ferns. In such cases, it is best to refer to several leaflets instead of just one.
The simplest way to identify trees' leaves is by their shape. Each leaf has two sides: a vein side and a surface side. You can tell which side of the leaf is which by looking at how it bends under light pressure. The underside of a leaf will always bend away from you while the top side will always bend toward you. Young leaves and flowers usually have both surfaces, but as they mature, the veins will grow stronger and push out against the outer skin, leaving the inner part of the leaf to develop into an attractive pattern or spot. This is why you should always look at both sides of a leaf when trying to identify it.
Some leaves may also have markings or spots on them. These could be small dots or stripes and help scientists classify the tree they come from.