Arrangement On Stems

Leaves grow from the joints, or nodes, of stems. The upper angle between a leaf and a stem is called the axil of the leaf.

Leaves are said to be opposite when they grow from opposite sides of a node. Maple and buckeye leaves grow in this way. Leaves are called alternate or spiraled when they grow singly from nodes at different points around the stem. The American elm provides an example. Leaves that grow in groups of three or more at a node are called whorled. This arrangement is less common than the other two. The catalpa is a plant with this type of leaves.