The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Try an activity or get started for free

Consider the Adaptations 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! 

Leaves usually have a large surface area. This allows the leaf a greater chance of absorbing sunlight for photosynthesis.

The leaf is made up of many layers -  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. It's also transparent, which allows light to pass through it.

 Directly underneath 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 green 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, oxygen and water vapour to diffuse in and out of the leaves easily. Within this spongy layer, you can find the vascular bundle which contains 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 like sucrose and amino acids 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 and can be opened and closed by guard cells. When guard cells are turgid, stomata are closed, stopping gas exchange.

 

 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. It's here that cells are able to divide and produce any type of plant cell. This allows the plant to keep growing taller and wider.


In the following activity, you will discuss the different  adaptations of the leaf.

There are many chloroplasts in the palisade mesophyll layer.

 

Describe how this adaptation helps the plant to grow. 

Having many chloroplasts allows more sunlight to be trapped by the pigment chlorophyll

Having many chloroplasts allows less sunlight to be trapped by the pigment chlorophyll

The light will be used to power respiration

The light will be used to power photosynthesis which will produce glucose, helping it to grow

The waxy cuticle forms the upper layer of a leaf.

 

Discuss how the adaptations of the waxy cuticle help the leaf.  

Has many chloroplasts for photosynthesis

Waterproof layer that helps to reduce water loss

Has stomata allowing gas exchange to occur

Transparent so allows light to pass through to reach cells beneath

The image below shows the structure of a leaf.

 

Label structure X and discuss the role of this structure.

 

Image of leaf anatomy  

Has many chloroplasts for photosynthesis

Waterproof layer that helps to reduce water loss

Has stomata allowing gas exchange to occur

Transparent so allows light to pass through to reach cells beneath

 

The xylem and phloem are tissues that transport substances around the plant. 

 

Describe the function of xylem and phloem tissues.

Column A

Column B

Xylem tissue transports
water and minerals from the roots to the leaves of...
Phloem tissue transports
nutrients such as sugar and amino acids around the...

Leaves have a large surface area.

 

Why is this a useful adaptation for the plant? 

 

Image of a plant

Allows more water to enter the leaf

Allows more oxygen to leave the leaf

Allows maximum light absorption

 

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

Meristem tissues are found in different regions in plants.

 

What's the function of meristem tissues?

 

Image of a plant

They can differentiate into any type of plant cell

They store water in their tissues

They absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis

Describe the function of stomata by filling in the blanks below.

They can differentiate into any type of plant cell

They store water in their tissues

They absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis

Take a look at the image of the leaf below.


Compare the structures and functions of  A and B.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

They can differentiate into any type of plant cell

They store water in their tissues

They absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis

 

Mel and James are discussing stomata in their science lesson. 

Mel says that stomata are surrounded by cells called guard cells that open and close, controlling which gases enter or exit the leaf. James says that stomata remain open, leaving gases free to enter at all times. 

 

Who is correct -  Mel or James?

  • Question 1

There are many chloroplasts in the palisade mesophyll layer.

 

Describe how this adaptation helps the plant to grow. 

CORRECT ANSWER
Having many chloroplasts allows more sunlight to be trapped by the pigment chlorophyll
The light will be used to power photosynthesis which will produce glucose, helping it to grow
EDDIE SAYS
The key to this is remembering what is contained within the chloroplasts! Chloroplasts contain the green substance called chlorophyll. This is the essential chemical needed for absorbing light for photosynthesis. Having loads of chloroplasts in the leaf is a major adaptation because the more chloroplasts there are, the more chlorophyll there will be, so that photosynthesis can occur.
  • Question 2

The waxy cuticle forms the upper layer of a leaf.

 

Discuss how the adaptations of the waxy cuticle help the leaf.  

CORRECT ANSWER
Waterproof layer that helps to reduce water loss
Transparent so allows light to pass through to reach cells beneath
EDDIE SAYS
Did you find both of the correct options here? The waxy cuticle is the outer layer of the leaf and it is its waxy quality that makes it brilliant for reducing water loss from the leaf. It is also transparent, so that light can easily pass through to the cells underneath. It has one additional function not mentioned in the options above - its waxy coating also helps to protect the leaf from damage.
  • Question 3

The image below shows the structure of a leaf.

 

Label structure X and discuss the role of this structure.

 

Image of leaf anatomy  

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
It is quite hard to see where the arrow is pointing in this image, but it is clearly very near the bottom of the leaf. The bottom layer is the lower epidermis, but this wasn't an option suggested above, so it must be something else. The lower epidermis contains stomata, so that must be what the arrow is pointing to. 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. It is important to remember which way the gases go - carbon dioxide is absorbed by the leaf and oxygen is released into the atmosphere.
  • Question 4

 

The xylem and phloem are tissues that transport substances around the plant. 

 

Describe the function of xylem and phloem tissues.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Xylem tissue transports
water and minerals from the roots...
Phloem tissue transports
nutrients such as sugar and amino...
EDDIE SAYS
Xylem and phloem have almost opposite functions - one transports water and minerals (xylem), the other transports food (phloem). If you can remember one tissue, hopefully the other will be easier to remember!
  • Question 5

Leaves have a large surface area.

 

Why is this a useful adaptation for the plant? 

 

Image of a plant

CORRECT ANSWER
Allows maximum light absorption
EDDIE SAYS
All of the options above look plausible, but there is only one correct answer! A large surface area means there's a greater chance that light will hit the leaf, allowing it to be absorbed for photosynthesis.
  • Question 6

 

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. Another activity completed! Well done!
  • Question 7

Meristem tissues are found in different regions in plants.

 

What's the function of meristem tissues?

 

Image of a plant

CORRECT ANSWER
They can differentiate into any type of plant cell
EDDIE SAYS
Meristem tissues are found in the tips of roots and shoots and between xylem and phloem tissues. They are important tissues because the meristem cells have the ability to divide and differentiate to become any type of cell that the plant needs. This means that the plant can continue to grow.
  • Question 8

Describe the function of stomata by filling in the blanks below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get them all right? Stomata are needed for gas exchange - to take in carbon dioxide from the environment for photosynthesis and to release oxygen. Water vapour also diffuses out through them. They are controlled by guard cells that can swell and become turgid to close the stomata when necessary. They are found in the lower epidermis because they are on the underside of the leaf.
  • Question 9

Take a look at the image of the leaf below.


Compare the structures and functions of  A and B.

 

Image of leaf anatomy

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Don't worry if you got a bit muddled with your mesophyll layers - they are tricky to get the right way round. To help you remember, P comes before S in the alphabet, so from the top down, the Palisade mesophyll tissue comes before the Spongy mesophyll tissue. It is important to understand that these two layers have very different functions. The palisade mesophyll layer contains the chloroplasts and is therefore vital for photosynthesis. The spongy mesophyll layer contains the xylem and phloem and is important for transporting water, food and minerals throughout the plant, as well as for gas exchange.
  • Question 10

 

Mel and James are discussing stomata in their science lesson. 

Mel says that stomata are surrounded by cells called guard cells that open and close, controlling which gases enter or exit the leaf. James says that stomata remain open, leaving gases free to enter at all times. 

 

Who is correct -  Mel or James?

CORRECT ANSWER
Mel
EDDIE SAYS
Stomata are surrounded by guard cells which swell and become turgid, closing the stomata when necessary. The gases entering and leaving the leaf have to be controlled, for example, closing the stomata when there is a lack of water will reduce water vapour being lost into the atmosphere.
---- OR ----

Get started for free so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Try an activity or get started for free