Another important leaf formation is the basal rosette, where all the leaves emerge from the ground at a common point. Many plants take this form in the cold weather, when growing tall would expose them to the elements, there are no taller plants competing for sunlight, and spreading in a circle captures the most sun. One of my first magazine articles was about cold-weather plants and basal rosettes. The editor consistently changed the spelling of "basal" to "basil," leaving the readers wondering where to find the recipe for spaghetti sauce.
Teeth are another feature that help you identify plantsósome leaves have serrated edges. If the serrations are serrated, the leaves are double-toothed. Double toothed leaves and twice or thrice-compound leaves are again themes of repetition on different scales, as described above.
The leavesí attachment to the rest of the plant provides further distinctions. Some leafstalks are long, others are shorter. Some, like winged sumac's, have flared edges. We call these stalks winged.
Some leaves have no leafstalks The leaves that partially surround the plant's stem clasp it. When the leaf base surrounds the stem, it looks like the stem is perforating the leaf
The above distinctions are for broad leaves, which include all leaves that arenít needles. Needles, which are narrow, come in different shapes and configurations too, and weíll discuss them as we cover the species that have needles.