Leaf Arrangement

Phyllotaxis refers to the arrangement of plant leaves on a stem. The basic arrangements are alternate and opposite leaf positioning. Sometimes it can also be whorled if many leaves appear to rise from the same node. In the opposite arrangement, two leaves face opposite sides of the plant stem.

Alternate Phyllotaxy

Alternate phyllotaxy is the most common type of leaf arrangement. As per the name, the leaves are arranged in an alternate fashion. Here, only one leaf is present at a single node. This means each leaf will arise from a different node from the sides. Example – Hibiscus, Sunflower, etc.

Whorled Phyllotaxy

This type of leaf arrangement is rarely seen in plants. Here, two or more leaves arise from a single node. It is usually seen in plants with short internodes. Sometimes they can be seen as basal leaf structures attached to a small basal shoot. This basal whorl can give a rosette-like appearance. Example – Macadamia, Barbejum stellatifolium


Difference between Alternate and Whorled Phyllotaxy

Alternate Phyllotaxy

Whorled Phyllotaxy

It is a type where leaves are arranged in an alternate fashion.

Here, the many leaves arise from the same point on a stem.

Only one leaf arises from a single node.

Two or more leaves arise from a single node.

It is the most common type of leaf arrangement in plants.

It is a fairly unusual arrangement of leaves.

Example – Hibiscus syricus, Helianthus, etc.

Example – Macadamia, Barbejum stellatifolium

Also see: Morphology of Leaf

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rosette?

It is the circular arrangement of the leaf or leaf-like structures in a plant. Rosettes are usually formed at the basal portion near the soil. Here, the internodes between the leaves are almost non-existent. Example – Ricciocarpos (liverwort).

What are internode and node?

A node is a point where the leaves attach to the stem. The interval between two nodes is called an internode. The internodal area is vital in deciding the plant height.

What is distichous phyllotaxis?

It is a ‘two-ranked’ arrangement of leaves on a stem. They can be in either alternate or opposite fashion. Here, the leaves are placed in two vertical ranks on opposite sides. It is seen in Gasteria, Clivia and Boophone plants.

Also Read: Parts of Plants

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