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Recall the Structures of the Leaf

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

 

Image of photosynthesis


Plants use sunlight to make their own food - this process is called photosynthesis.

Plants have different structures that help them to make their food. One of the main structures is the leaf. A  leaf has many adaptations that allow it to carry out photosynthesis effectively. Let's look at these in more detail below:

 

Image of leaf anatomy

 

The leaf is quite a complicated organ when looked at under a microscope, as you can see from the picture above!

The leaf is made up of many layers and each layer has a role to play in protecting the plant and helping it to produce food. Let's explore these layers:

The top layer of a leaf is called the waxy cuticle. The waxy part forms a protective layer over the leaf and reduces water loss from the plant. Directly underneath this is the epidermal tissue called the upper epidermis - this forms another protective layer and helps to reduce water loss too. 

The next layer of cells is formed of palisade mesophyll cells. These are rectangular-shaped and are packed with loads of chloroplasts. The chloroplasts contain the pigment chlorophyll, which absorbs light to power photosynthesis.

Below the palisade mesophyll layer is the spongy mesophyll layer. The spongy mesophyll layer contains air spaces, allowing gases such as carbon dioxide and oxygen to diffuse in and out of the leaves easily. Within this spongy layer, you can find the xylem and phloem. The xylem is responsible for transporting water and minerals from the roots of a plant to the leaves. The phloem transports sugars around the plant to where it's needed.

The lower epidermis layer contains holes or pores called stomata (stoma for one pore). These stomata allow gases in and out of the underside of the leaf.

 

 Image of leaf anatomy

 

Meristems are found at the growing tips of shoots and roots. Meristem cells are able to differentiate into any other cell that the plant needs. This allows the plant to keep growing taller and wider.

 

In the following activity, you will consider the different structures of the leaf.

 

Photosynthesis can be illustrated using an equation.

The word equation for photosynthesis is:

 

carbon dioxide + water → glucose + X

 

What is X? 

The image below shows the structure of a leaf.

 

What is the name of structure X that allows carbon dioxide and oxygen to enter and leave the plant? 

 

Image of leaf anatomy

 

Match up the definitions to the keywords below. 

Column A

Column B

The storage carbohydrate found in plants
Starch
The process where plants use sunlight to make glu...
Water
The gas produced during photosynthesis
Glucose
The source of energy needed by plants for photosy...
Carbon dioxide
The gas needed by plants for photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
The sugar made by plants during photosynthesis
Light
The liquid needed by plants for photosynthesis
Oxygen

Take a look at the image of the leaf below.

 

Label structures A and B.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

A: Stoma

A: Palisade mesophyll

B: Spongy mesophyll

B: Palisade mesophyll

The upper layer of a leaf helps to prevent water from being lost from the leaf.

 

What's the name of this layer?

Chloroplast

Waxy cuticle

Xylem

The xylem and phloem are tissues that transport water, minerals and nutrients around the plant.

 

Label the xylem and phloem in the picture below.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

Column A

Column B

A
Xylem
B
Phloem

Meristem tissues are found in different regions in plants.

 

Where are meristem tissues found? 

 

Image of a plant

 

 

In the nucleus

Root tips

In the chloroplast

Shoot tips

What are the names of the top two layers of the leaf? 

Meristem tissue

Waxy cuticle

Xylem issue

Upper epidermis

The palisade mesophyll layer is packed with chloroplasts.

 

What do chloroplasts do? 

Meristem tissue

Waxy cuticle

Xylem issue

Upper epidermis

The xylem and phloem are responsible for transporting water and nutrients around the plant.

 

In which layer of the leaf can you find the xylem and phloem?

Upper epidermis

Palisade mesophyll

Spongy mesophyll

  • Question 1

 

Photosynthesis can be illustrated using an equation.

The word equation for photosynthesis is:

 

carbon dioxide + water → glucose + X

 

What is X? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
Oxygen is one of the main waste products of photosynthesis. Are you surprised to see it described as a waste product?This is because the production of oxygen is not the purpose of photosynthesis, which is all about making glucose for the plant. This means that the oxygen is an unwanted product which the plant releases into the air. This oxygen, however, is essential for animals and any microorganisms that use oxygen for respiration - so it's a good thing that plants produce it!
  • Question 2

The image below shows the structure of a leaf.

 

What is the name of structure X that allows carbon dioxide and oxygen to enter and leave the plant? 

 

Image of leaf anatomy

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Stomata
Stoma
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this one? You could have put either stomata (plural) or stoma (singular). The stomata are pores that allow gas exchange to occur - they are normally surrounded by cells called guard cells that open and close, controlling which gases enter or exit the leaf. Can you remember which way the gases go during photosynthesis? Carbon dioxide is absorbed by the leaf and oxygen is released. An important detail that you need to know!
  • Question 3

Match up the definitions to the keywords below. 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

The storage carbohydrate found in...
Starch
The process where plants use sun...
Photosynthesis
The gas produced during photosyn...
Oxygen
The source of energy needed by p...
Light
The gas needed by plants for pho...
Carbon dioxide
The sugar made by plants during p...
Glucose
The liquid needed by plants for ...
Water
EDDIE SAYS
This is a quick summary activity to test your knowledge of the key terms found in the topic of plants. Have a few go's if you didn't manage to get them all correct the first time round!
  • Question 4

Take a look at the image of the leaf below.

 

Label structures A and B.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

CORRECT ANSWER
A: Palisade mesophyll
B: Spongy mesophyll
EDDIE SAYS
Don't worry if you found this hard - these are difficult structures to recognise and to recall the names! To help you to identify the palisade mesophyll layer, look for the cells that are rectangular looking. The order of layers in the leaf from the outer layer inwards goes like this: waxy cuticle - upper epidermis - palisade mesophyll - spongy mesophyll (which contains the xylem and phloem) - lower epidermis (which contains the stomata). See if you can work out some way of remembering this order.
  • Question 5

The upper layer of a leaf helps to prevent water from being lost from the leaf.

 

What's the name of this layer?

CORRECT ANSWER
Waxy cuticle
EDDIE SAYS
There are a lot of tricky words to get your head around in this topic, so look for easy ways to remember some of these names and you'll make life a lot easier for yourself! If something is waxy, it tends to be waterproof - for example, you might put a waxy layer on shoes or on a raincoat to keep them waterproof. The waxy cuticle is the outer layer of the leaf and is waterproof, reducing water loss. It's also transparent, allowing light in for photosynthesis! Pretty cool right?!
  • Question 6

The xylem and phloem are tissues that transport water, minerals and nutrients around the plant.

 

Label the xylem and phloem in the picture below.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

A
Xylem
B
Phloem
EDDIE SAYS
Another tricky one to get your head around! The xylem tissue transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves of a plant, whereas the phloem transports nutrients such as sugar and amino acids around the plant. The xylem are above the phloem - can you think of any way of remembering this order?
  • Question 7

Meristem tissues are found in different regions in plants.

 

Where are meristem tissues found? 

 

Image of a plant

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Root tips
Shoot tips
EDDIE SAYS
Can you remember what the function of meristem tissue is? Meristem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell that the plant needs, thereby allowing the plant to keep growing. This means that they will be found in the parts of the plant that are growing - so, in the root and shoot tips. They are also found in between xylem and phloem tissues.
  • Question 8

What are the names of the top two layers of the leaf? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Waxy cuticle
Upper epidermis
EDDIE SAYS
How are you getting on with learning the order? It goes: cuticle - upper epidermis - palisade mesophyll - spongy mesophyll - lower epidermis Keep on studying the image in the Introduction and see if you can find an easy way to remember this order, and you'll feel much more confident with this topic.
  • Question 9

The palisade mesophyll layer is packed with chloroplasts.

 

What do chloroplasts do? 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Chloroplasts, and the chlorophyll they contain, are responsible for trapping the Sun's light energy to kick start photosynthesis. Without these, there would be no photosynthesis!
  • Question 10

The xylem and phloem are responsible for transporting water and nutrients around the plant.

 

In which layer of the leaf can you find the xylem and phloem?

CORRECT ANSWER
Spongy mesophyll
EDDIE SAYS
This one is easier than it looks! Think of the structure of a sponge - it is full of holes and can hold air or water in it. The spongy mesophyll, like a sponge, contains air spaces to allow gases to diffuse in and out of the leaf easily, and also water, in the xylem and phloem. How do you feel about this topic having completed this activity? If you're still not too sure of the order of the layers, go back and study that image in the Introduction once more to get it sorted clearly.
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