Leaf Arrangement

Explore Alternate Leaf Arrangements

Common Hackberry
(Celtis occidentalis)

Explore Whorled Leaf Arrangeement

Southern Catalpa
(Catalpa bignonioides)



The Importance of Leaf Arrangement

Leaf arrangement is one of the first steps in helping to narrow down the options of woody plant identification. There are two types of arrangement that are usually discussed, arrangement of leaves at a node, and arrangement of leaves along the stem. Here we are concerned with arrangement of leaves at a node.

Arrangement at Nodes

Alternate: Leaves or Stems situated one at a node. Leaves can also alternate in a distichous pattern along only two sides of the stem.

Opposite: Stems or leaves appear across from one another at the same node; opposite leaves may also appear decussate (pairs alternating at 90º angles at every node).

Subopposite: Leaves appear near opposite but not exactly opposite at a nodee.

Whorled: Three or more leaves arising at a node.

Leaf Arrangement Illustration (pdf)

Botanical Terminology > Leaf Arrangement