Normally, a leaf functions to make food. Some leaves may be specialized to perform other functions. Take the poinsettia as an example. When you look at its red coloring, you will think of it as the flower structure of the plant. These leaves are naturally colored to attract insects. By then, it’s very tiny, inconspicuous flowers will be noticed. In other plants, leaves are also modified to store food or water, provide support for climbing plants, or even capture insects.
When you eat celery, you actually eat the petioles of the leaves. These petioles serve to store food. Other leaves also serve as food sources for animals and humans. Lettuce and cabbage are good examples. For grazing animals, grass leaves provide food. Leaves are sometimes especially adapted. The bulb leaves of onions are thickly adapted to store food. The leaves of pine trees or conifers are modified into a needle like structure. This kind of structure enables the plants to withstand freezing or very cold temperature.
You can also see leaves as that of a cadena de amor or squash. These are an example of vegetables in a grapevine area. Their leaves are modified into tendrils. Tendrils are long slender structures that curl and wrap around branches or other objects. They support the plant as it climbs. Some leaves are modified into sharp structures called spines. If you grasp a cactus or bougainvillea, you will note that the presence of spines prevents you from touching them easily. These structures protect the plants.
Notice a leaf that is hairy. At times when you touch it, your skin gets irritated. These are hairs with tiny vessels at their tips. There are plants that contain a great quantity of hair on its surface. This makes their surface coarse, thus making it ideal for cleaning cooking pots and pans. Sometimes leaves store food and water in their blades and petioles. All they do is thickening. Plants with this kind are called succulents.