Sunday Quiz – Leaf Shapes

Dearest Readers, the Royal Horticultural Society Gardening School teaches that there are 11 different basic leaf shapes (there are lots of others that they don’t seem to have included here, but bear with me :-)). All we need to do this week (‘all’ she says) is match the leaves below to their shape. I will give a bonus point if you can also tell me which plant the leaves come from. I will also give you a definition of what the shapes mean just to help you on your way. We are all going to learn something here, I’m sure (including me!)

In view of the similarities between some of these leaf shapes, I am also going to exercise some latitude if you are close – one person’s ovate might be another person’s oval, for example. I am using Francis Rose’s Wild Flower Key and the RHS site, but they are not always in agreement. Sigh. Let’s see how we get on, and I am open for debate, though Bugwoman’s final word is final (if you know what I mean).

Answers by next Friday (15th October) at 5 p.m. UK time please, and I will disappear your answers when I see them (though WordPress has been extremely remiss in notifying me just lately), so if you are easily influenced by the brilliance of others I suggest you write your answers down first.

So, if you think that the leaf in Photo 1 is a flabellate leaf, your answer is 1) A)


Leaf Shapes

A) Flabellate (resembling a fan)

B) Ovate (egg-like with the broader part at the base)

C) Elliptic (shaped like an ellipse) (leaf is twice as long as broad, with the broadest bit in the middle)

D) Lanceolate ( shaped like a spear head)

E) Perfoliate (a leaf with a base that appears to be pierced by the stem)

F) Spathulate (spoon-shaped)

G) Linear ( long and narrow)

H) Falcate (sickle-shaped, like the beak of a falcon)

I) Oblanceolate (shaped like an upside-down spear head)

J) Obovate (shaped like an upside-down egg, with the broader part at the top)

L) Oval (similar to elliptical but ‘fatter’ – the width is more than half the length, widest in the middle).


Photo Two by Mehmet Karatay, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons




Photo Five by No machine-readable author provided. Lorenzarius assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Six by Dcrjsr, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Seven by By Casliber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Photo Eight by Public Domain,


Photo Nine by Emőke Dénes, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Ten by Σ64, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Eleven by Matt Lavin from





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