Leaves are usually green in color due to the presence of a compound called chlorophyll that is essential for photosynthesis as it absorbs light energy from the sun.
Leaves have many functions. The primary of which is to manufacture food. Photosynthesis is a chemical reaction that takes place in the leaves, producing food for the plant to survive. Water and food materials for the plant are stored in the leaves. Fleshy and succulent leaves of xerophytic plants growing in desert area always store a huge quantity of water, mucilage and food materials.
On the leaves are numerous minute openings called stomata. Through these stomatal openings, gaseous exchange between the atmosphere and plant takes place. Transpiration, a process where water absorbed by the root hairs of the plant is evaporated from the leaf surface during the day time, also takes place through the stomatal openings.
Some plants reproduce by vegetative propagation. In such cases, the leave has the function to reproduce. The leaf margin at point produces roots, and form a bud that grows into a new plant.
Some leaves are not green in colour – like the following plant. In such instance, how do they manufacture food then? Apparently, at low light levels, green leaves are most efficient at photosynthesis. On a sunny day, however, there is essentially no difference between red and green leaves’ ability to trap the sun’s energy.
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