Leaves play an important role in the life of the plant, providing the means to collect and store sunlight for photosynthesis. Still, leaves inevitably fall and are scattered by the wind. Some plants have adapted to use this to their advantage and store everything necessary to reproduce in their leaves.
Although many plants sometimes can sprout a new plant from a well-planted leaf, bryophyllum, or Kalanchoe, can do so while the leaves still are attached to the branch. The leaves of this plant begin the process of mitosis and asexually reproduce in the form of plantlets that cover the edges of each leaf. Once these plantlets develop, they drop off and grow into new plants when they find fertile ground.
The African violet is a common purple or blue plant in many homes in the United States. This small flower reproduces through seeds but also can reproduce asexually via a small portion of the leaf. This leaf cutting must be planted in moist and fertile soil. Once rooted, the plant will develop into a flower that is genetically identical to its parent.
Like violets, begonias are flowers that are capable of propagating from a portion of the leaf. All parts of the begonia leaf are usable in propagating a daughter plant. Planted in moist soil with lots of light and humidity, the begonia plant will grow into an exact copy of its parent. This method is used to retain the genetic characteristics of particular begonia varieties.
This genus of plants includes the agave, the snake plant and the mother-in-law’s tongue plant. All of these are propagated from leaf cuttings that must be planted in moist soil with a great deal of fertilizer to develop properly. Dwarf varieties of sansiveria require leaf cuttings of 3 to 4 inches in length while larger varieties such as the snake plant require 4- to 8-inch cuttings. Leaf cuttings of sansiveria produce plantlets that must be cut and transplanted into fresh soil for growth.
Piggy Back Plant
Like the bryophyllum, the piggy back plant reproduces through plantlets that form on the leaf. Forming on the bottom of each leaf, these plantlets begin as buds and then mature into full-sized plantlets that drop into the soil, maturing into genetically identical plants.
About the Author
Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.
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