Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Alternate, Opposite, Subopposite and Whorled Leaves

 

An illustration of alternate, opposite, subopposite and whorled leaves.

Many plant identification guides group species by how their leaves are arranged on their stems. From left to right above are four common patterns:

  • Alternate: One leaf per node
  • Opposite: Two leaves per node
  • Subopposite: Almost opposite
  • Whorled: Three or more leaves per node.

Looking for the leaf arrangement is a good first step to identifying a plant. For more examples, see this video tutorial. 


Plant Profile: Wild Ginger

A single flower emerges between a pair of leaves of wild ginger, Asarum canadense . In spring, wild ginger is one of the first plants to eme...