Exploring Nature: 17 Different Types of Leaves

different types of leaves

Leaves have an impact on our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Leaves make some people happy, like when you get to play in the pile of leaves in your backyard. Or, they can make someone sad, for example, when you watch them turn yellow and fall from branches.

In any case, those who do pay attention to nature, enjoy plants, and even like to explore a bit will benefit from this brief guide on different types of leaves.

Two Main Types of Leaves


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The size and shape of leaves can significantly vary depending on the environment and climate they are growing in. But generally speaking, there are two broad categories, which are then filtered down into different types of leaves based on their attributes. So, the two main classifications are simple leaves and compound leaves.

A simple leaf has one blade on the stalk, which is attached to the plant. A couple of examples of simple leaves are oaks, maple, black cherry, guava, banana, and mango.

On the other hand, a compound leaf has more than one blade on its stalk called leaflets. So, many leaflets on one stem are considered one leaf. A few examples of compound leaves are neem, clover, poison ivy, desert cotton, and horse chestnut.

Different Types of Leaves Based on the Shape

There are many ways to classify leaves. But, the easiest way to do it is according to their shape. That way, even though you are not an expert, you’ll be able to recognize different types of leaves easily. So, check out this list.

1. Ovate


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Ovate leaves have an oval shape and a broad middle part. For example, the china rose has ovate leaves.

2. Acicular


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Evergreen trees often have needle leaves. This type of leaf is narrow and pointed, of different lengths, and can grow singly or in bundles. In any case, needle-shaped leaves are called acicular.

3. Lanceolate


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Leaves that are longer than they are wide, you can classify as lanceolate leaves. As you probably already guessed, the name comes from the word lance — spears used by knights that have a long wooden shaft and pointed steelhead. One example of lanceolate leaves is bamboo leaves.

4. Oblong


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Oblong leaves have a rectangular shape, rounded corners, and are parallel at the sides — just like banana leaves.

5. Linear


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Next on our list of different types of leaves are linear leaves. If you are wondering how to recognize them, just think of grass. Linear leaves are slender, narrow, and long.

6. Cordate


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You can easily recognize cordate leaves because they are shaped like a heart. Moreover, their base extends inwards, and there’s a noticeable notch where the stem grows. Look for betel plant leaves to compare.

7. Reniform


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Reniform leaves are those that look like a kidney. So, they will be circular or roughly circular with a notch. If you have a hard time picturing it, just look at Indian pennyworth, and you’ll get the gist of it.

8. Elliptical


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Elliptical leaves have, of course, a shape of an ellipse. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, and the broadest part of the leaf is the middle. Guava leaves are a perfect example of elliptical leaves.

9. Orbicular


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Just as their name suggests, orbicular leaves have a more or less orbit shape, meaning the width and the length are nearly the same. Lotus leaves have an orbicular shape.

10. Sagittate


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Sagittate leaves look like an arrowhead. And if you need more proof, consider where the plant called arrowhead got its name.

11. Hastate


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Hastate leaves look similar to sagittate, but the basal lobes extend away from the midrib. For instance, duck-potato has this two-lobbed sagittate shape.

12. Lyrate


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Lyrate leaves have the shape of a — you guessed it — lyre. Radish is one example of lyrate leaves.

13. Spatulate


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When you see spoon-shaped or spatula-shaped leaves, you can classify them as spatulate. With this type of leaves, the lamina is the widest near the apex. So, water oak would fit perfectly into this category.

14. Rhomboid


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Diamond-shaped leaves are called rhomboid or rhombic. This type of leaf has straight margins, and the middle part of the lamina is the widest. To get a better picture, check out rose leaves.

15. Flabellate


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Flabellate leaves are fan-shaped, and their widest part is the apex. For instance, Ginkgo Biloba has such leaves.

16. Oblique


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Oblique-shaped leaves, such as begonia leaves, have unequal bases.

17. Cuneate


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The last on this list of different types of leaves according to their shape is cuneate leaves. You’ll easily notice them because they look like a wedge — just like water lettuce leaves.

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