How do the various leaf modifications help plants?
The main function of the leaves is to carry out the process of photosynthesis. However, in a few plants, leaves are modified to perform different functions.
(a) Tendrils: The leaves of a pea plant are modified into tendrils that help the plant in climbing.
(b) Spines: The leaves in cactus are modified into sharp spines that act as an organ of defence.
(c) Phyllode: The leaves of some Australian acacia are short-lived and soon replaced by flattened, green structures called phyllodes that arise from the petiole of the leaves. The petioles in these plants synthesize food.
(d) Pitcher: The leaves of the pitcher plant are modified into pitcher-like structures, which contain digestive juices and help in trapping and digesting insects.