Sunday, May 03, 2009

A garland of leaves

One day it occurred to me that if one was searching for variety amongst plants, leaves were quite as interesting as flowers, though not nearly as gaudy. I began collecting pictures and suddenly realized that I was likely to clog my archives with zillions of leaf pix. It was time to publish and get over the obsession!

How about a strawberry leaf for starters. When this image was blown up, the little hairs on the leaves were quite apparent -- and highlight the edges, a plus for the photographer. The nasturtium leaf (below) is quite distinct, being round with the stem in the center instead of one end. Good in salads, too.

English ivy leaves are darker than many, also being rather leathery, not to mention evergreen, no doubt a major reason for the popularity of the vine. Apparently, ivy is given to spontaneous generation of leaf varieties; I noted a new branch on my porch with spikier lobes just this morning.

An object for size comparison is really needed when you present a honking big hollyhock leaf. Say, a baseball mitt or small sauce pan. But then everything about the hollyhock is somewhat supersized.

The coral bell leaf is a rounded shape like the hollyhock, but smaller. Again, note the general fuzziness. BTW, why all those highlights? The plant had just been watered.

A leaf group from the emery oak, our local evergreen tree oak which produces Gourmet Acorns -- nuts that are edible when they fall to the ground. Quite unusual for an oak; the rule is that acorns have to be retted to get rid of the bitter tannin.

The scrub turbinella oak is a totally different creature. For example, take a look at those spikey leaves, which remain spikey when they've been in the mulch heap for a couple of years. In Arizona, one is advised to wear garden gloves at all times! Scrub oak is one of the reasons.

It always cheers me up when these big cotyledon leaves pop open in my garden pots. The first sign of morning glory, these distinctive leaves were curled up inside the seed.

The next leaves are usually these heart-shaped affairs, tho some reds grow highly lobed leaves (below).

The lacy leaves of scarlet gilia, a plant that colors the roadsides near Flagstaff a brilliant red in the fall.

Mountain mahogany, with spent flowers about to produce those curlicue seeds that glow in the sunlight. Another evergreen, with quite small leaves.

A total mystery, a grey ground cover from the nursery. Up close, the leaves look to have been produced by knitting.

Dandylion, either a weed or a food plant, depending upon your point of view.

And why am I closing this post with a sprig of paintbrush? First, because it is bright R.E.D. But also because the bright red parts are actually modified leaves which enclose the small flowers, which you can distinguish if you look carefully.


Anonymous said...

A good collection. Nice photos.

Omegadad said...

Great leaves, Mom. We've been dutifully watching our rhubarb. A week ago it was reddish phallic buds, and now the leaves are larger than my hand. (Won't be long and they'll be larger than my daughter.)

Our afternoon mantra has become "Wonder how much the rhubarb grew today?"

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

I note that there's no shot of hemp of any sort--the scrub oak looks much like holly but not so shiney.


Jarart said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the leaf series and learned some things too.

azlaydey said...

Another interesting perspective on the world around us.

Granny J said...

steve -- I had to pare down the number of pix; had quite a collection

od -- I would have included my very own new rhubarb, had it survived the last but one javelina depredation. They went for the roots.

bro -- no, tho at one time we had a mini-tree that had leaves similar to MJ. On one occasion, we were in a shop that had a grown-up version of the same tree & there were a couple of juveniles smirking. The juveniles were Wrong! The big difference between the scrub oak and holly is that the scrub oak leaves look, well, scrub oaky.

jarart -- try out one of those emery oak acorns, why doncha!

lady -- there are countless ways to see the world around us! I'm just skimming the surface.

Arati said...


Granny J said...

thank you for your enjoyment, arati.

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