Leaves come in an incredible variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the type of tree and where it grows. They can be rounded, oval, spear shaped, heart shaped, or triangular. Some leaves have smooth edges, whilst others have tiny points, called ‘teeth’. They can be as big as 3 metres across, like the Giant Rhubarb plant, or as small as a generous pinhead.
Look closely at a leaf and you can see the spreading network of lines, known as ‘veins’, which run throughout it. Notice how these veins connect together to the main stem of the leaf. The veins of a leaf have two important jobs: they are the pipelines carrying food and water between the leaves and the rest of the tree, and they are the scaffolding giving strength to the leaf.
Veins also give the back of the leaf a nice bobbly texture, and we can use this to make a record of the shape of the leaf with a simple but effective technique called leaf rubbing.