Leaf Type


When discussing the structure of leaves, it is best to start in the most basic concept: Leaf Type.

A leaf can be either simple or compound.

This concept is determined by determining the position of the bud.

SIMPLE - If the bud is located in the axil (where the petiole attaches to the stem) of a single leaf.

COMPOUND - The leaf is divided into multiple leaflets.


S_Diagram.jpg C_Diagram.jpg


Simple (left) and Compound (right) leaf types



Simple Leaf

A simple leaf is a single leaf that attaches to the stem.

Simple.jpg Simple2.jpg



Palmate Leaf

A palmate leaf is a compound leaf that has smaller leaflets attaching to a common point.

The whole structure is "palm-like" and shaped like the palm of your hand.

Palmate.jpg Palmate2.jpg


Pinnate Leaf 

A pinnate leaf is a compound leaf that attaches to the stem and is divided into smaller leaflets.

A pinnate leaf can either be even or odd, which is the amount of leaflets contained on the leaf.

Pinnate.jpg Pinnate2.jpg

As you can see, both the drawing and picture are odd pinnate leaves because they have an odd amount of leaflets.


Bipinnate Leaf

A bipinnate leaf is a pinnate leaf that is twice divided.

Bipinnate.jpg Bipinnate2.jpg



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

The leaf Type will be hidden. See if you can name the Type. Then click the lower lefthand box "term" to see the answer.



 Hyperlink to Flash Card Activity  

Leaf Type Quiz

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