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What are the Veins on a Leaf Called?

They are just called veins, but collectively, the pattern of veins on a leaf are called its venation. There are two main types: parallel venation and netted venation. This is exactly what it sounds like. When the veins run in the same direction as the leaf itself, that’s called parallel venation. When the veins run perpendicular or throughout the entire leaf in a dynamic pattern, that’s called netted venation. (Netted venation is also known as reticulate venation.)

What do Plant Leaf Veins Do?

They serve a remarkably similar purpose as our own veins. Plant veins deliver water, minerals, and plant energy through the leaf and rest of the plant. Like our muscles and bones, these veins also provide physical support for the leaf to hold it against the wind, water, and elements.

Also, if you’re looking online for information about houseplant venation, it’s a good idea to add the word “plant” as part of your initial search. That’s because it’s also common to talk about the venation of insect wings.

What are the Different Types of Leaf Shapes Called?

There are a handful of major leaf shapes, also known as leaf margins. The different types of leaf shapes are based on just the outline of the leaf, not the venation pattern. The veins of the prayer plant may dissect the leaf, but the shape of the leaf itself is simple and regular.

  • Entire Leaf: This is a simple leaf shape with smooth, regular edges.
  • Toothed Leaf: These leaves have a regular shape overall, but with toothed edges. Many horticulturalists will break this shape into two separate leaf margins. With pointed teeth, it’s called a serrate leaf margin. With rounded teeth, it’s called a crenate leaf margin.
  • Lobed Leaf: These leaves are dissected into distinct sections or lobes. Unlike parted leaves, the indentations go less than halfway through the leaf.
  • Parted Leaf: These leaves are deeply dissected with clefts that run more than halfway into the leaf. Ornate fall foliage is often depicted with a parted leaf shape.

You can learn even more about the various terms and subtypes for leaf margins here. This resource will explain the differences between doubly serrated, ciliate, dentate, undulate leaves, and more.

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