Why… are leaves dif­fer­ent sizes?

The Week - Junior - - Science And Technology -

There are hun­dreds of thou­sands of dif­fer­ent plant species in the world and their leaves can vary from re­ally tiny to gi­gan­tic. For ex­am­ple, ba­nana plants have leaves that can grow up to 2.7 me­tres long. Botanists (sci­en­tists who study plants) have al­ways won­dered why leaves are dif­fer­ent sizes. One of their the­o­ries is that trop­i­cal plants grow larger be­cause there is more wa­ter in the air and soil in their na­tive coun­tries. This is the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for plants to grow. An­other the­ory sug­gests that plants that see more sun­shine have smaller leaves, whereas plants that are in the shade have larger leaves. This is be­cause the larger leaves need more sur­face area to soak up more of the Sun’s rays.

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