Plant World

Plant Structure and Function

In what ways are leaves economically important?

Leaves are used for food and beverages, dyes and fibers, and medicinal and other industrial uses. Certain plants, such as cabbage (Brassica oleracea), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), spinach (Spinacia oleracea), and most herbs—including parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris)—are grown for their leaves. Bearberry leaves (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) contain a natural yellow dye, while henna leaves (Lawsonia inermis) contain a natural red dye. The leaves of palm trees are used to make clothing, brooms, and thatched huts in tropical climates. Aloe vera leaves are well known for treating burns and are also used in manufacturing medicated soaps and creams.


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