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/lēf/ Noun, pl. leaves (Botany) 1. An organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants. Typically a leaf is a thin, flattened organ borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis, but many types of leaves are adapted in ways almost unrecognisable in those terms: some are not flat (for example many succulent leaves and conifers), some are not above ground (such as bulb scales), and some are without major photosynthetic function (consider for example cataphylls, spines, and cotyledons). ( 2. A coloured, usually green, expansion growing from the side of a stem or rootstock, in which the sap for the use of the plant is elaborated under the influence of light; one of the parts of a plant which collectively constitute its foliage. Such leaves usually consist of a blade, or lamina, supported upon a leafstalk or petiole, which, continued through the blade as the midrib, gives off woody ribs and veins that support the cellular texture. The petiole has usually some sort of an appendage on each side of its base, which is called the stipule. The green parenchyma of the leaf is covered with a thin epiderm pierced with closable microscopic openings, known as stomata. ( 3. The usually green and flat organ that represents...

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