In this post, I’d like to get things back to some of the very basics of Nature, which has no shortage of amazing, wonder-worthy attributes.
The leaf is a a rather everyday item that we encounter in many places. However, lest we forget that leaves are the powerhouse of plants. In most plants, leaves are the major site of food production for the plant. Structures within a leaf convert the energy in sunlight into chemical energy that the plant can use as food. Chlorophyll is the molecule in leaves that uses the energy in sunlight to turn water (H2O) and carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into sugar and oxygen gas (O2).
A leaf is made of many layers that are sandwiched between two layers of tough skin cells (called the epidermis). The epidermis also secretes a waxy substance called the cuticle. These layers protect the leaf from insects, bacteria, and other pests. Among the epidermal cells are pairs of sausage-shaped guard cells. Each pair of guard cells forms a pore (called stoma; the plural is stomata). Gases enter and exit the leaf through the stomata.
Most food production takes place in elongated cells called palisade mesophyll. Gas exchange occurs in the air spaces between the oddly-shaped cells of the spongy mesophyll.
Veins support the leaf and are filled with vessels that transport food, water, and minerals to the plant.
And, if this is not enough to amaze you, leaves are things of beauty as well.
Hope you enjoyed this!!
This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens with a circular polarizer. Exposure was at 1/320 second at f/8 and 320 ISO.