Leaf Shape


There are many different leaf shapes in nature.

What follows in this tutorial are the most common leaf shapes.



An Ovate leaf is described as being broadest below the middle, and roughly 2x as long as it is wide.


Ovate.jpg Ovate2.jpg


A way to remember this leaf is that it is "egg-shaped.



An Obovate leaf is described as being broadest above the middle, and roughly 2x as long as it is wide.


Obovate.jpg Obovate2.jpg


An Obovate leaf is the reverse of Ovate.




A Lanceolate leaf is at least 3x longer than wide, and broadest below middle.


Lanceolate.jpg Lanceolate2.jpg




Oblanceolate leaves are at least 3x longer than wide, but broadest above middle.


Oblanceolate.jpg Oblanceolate2.jpg


An Oblanceolate leaf is the reverse of a Lanceolate leaf.




Leaves that are Cordate-shaped have leaves that are broad to the point and then turn upwards at the base, forming a notch.


Cordate.jpg Cordate2.jpg


Cordate leaves are "heart-shaped."




Obcordate leaves are the reverse of Cordate leaves. They start at a point and then widen until they form a notch at the apex.


Obcordate.jpg Obcordate2.jpg



Elliptical leaves have the broadest width in the middle and then taper off at the ends.


Elliptical.jpg Elliptical2.jpg


Another way to remember this leaf shape is to think of it as "football-shaped."



Oblong leaves are 2-3x as long as wide and have parallel sides.


Oblong.jpg Oblong2.jpg




Cuneate leaves have a small width at base, but then a broad width near the top before the apex.


Cuneate.jpg Cuneate2.jpg


Cuneate leaves are "wedge-shaped."





Linear leaves are narrow, are at least 4x longer than wide, and have the same width throughout.


Linear.jpg Linear2.jpg




Peltate leaves are rounded with the petiole attached underneath the base of the leaf.


Peltate.jpg Peltate2.jpg


Peltate leaves are shaped like little shields.




Spatulate leaves are narrow for almost the entire leaf, but then have an abrupt round structure at the apex.


Spatulate.jpg Spatulate2.jpg


Spatulate leaves have a similar shape to a spatula.


Reniform leaves are broad and wider than they are high.


Reniform.jpg Reniform2.jpg


Peltate leaves are shaped like kidneys.



Hastate leaves are very recognizable. They are taper off at three apexes and are arrowhead-shaped.


Hastate.jpg Hastate2.jpg


Before you take the quiz, you might want to review for it using the following activities.

In the Flash Card Activity, the leaf Shape will be hidden. See if you can name the Shape. Then click the lower lefthand box "term" to see the answer.

 Hyperlink to Flash Card Activity  



 In the Shape Comparison Activity select one leaf from the top and one from the bottom to compare the shapes of different leaves.





Leaf Shape Quiz

A quiz will load up below. If you find that you are not scoring very high, be sure to go back and review.