Bulbs Flower Basics Flower Beds & Specialty Gardens Flower Garden Garden Furniture Garden Gnomes Garden Seeds Garden Sheds Garden Statues Garden Tools & Supplies Gardening Basics Green & Organic Groundcovers & Vines Growing Annuals Growing Basil Growing Beans Growing Berries Growing Blueberries Growing Cactus Growing Corn Growing Cotton Growing Edibles Growing Flowers Growing Garlic Growing Grapes Growing Grass Growing Herbs Growing Jasmine Growing Mint Growing Mushrooms Orchids Growing Peanuts Growing Perennials Growing Plants Growing Rosemary Growing Roses Growing Strawberries Growing Sunflowers Growing Thyme Growing Tomatoes Growing Tulips Growing Vegetables Herb Basics Herb Garden Indoor Growing Landscaping Basics Landscaping Patios Landscaping Plants Landscaping Shrubs Landscaping Trees Landscaping Walks & Pathways Lawn Basics Lawn Maintenance Lawn Mowers Lawn Ornaments Lawn Planting Lawn Tools Outdoor Growing Overall Landscape Planning Pests, Weeds & Problems Plant Basics Rock Garden Rose Garden Shrubs Soil Specialty Gardens Trees Vegetable Garden Yard Maintenance

Why Are Sun Leaves Thicker Than Shade Leaves?

Why Are Sun Leaves Thicker Than Shade Leaves?

Why Are Sun Leaves Thicker Than Shade Leaves?. When exploring nature, many observers notice that plant leaves adapt to their environment. As a plant grows, some leaves are exposed to the sun and other remain shaded. Typically, shaded leaves are located underneath sun leaves, and sun leaves are thicker. The different light conditions lead to...

When exploring nature, many observers notice that plant leaves adapt to their environment. As a plant grows, some leaves are exposed to the sun and other remain shaded. Typically, shaded leaves are located underneath sun leaves, and sun leaves are thicker. The different light conditions lead to physical changes in the structure of shade leaves and sun leaves.
Shade Leaves vs. Sun Leaves
Generally speaking, shade leaves are the largest leaves of a plant. While shade leaves are bigger, sun leaves are thicker than their shaded counterparts. The differences in physical structure are caused by the cellular makeup of the leaves, according to the Oxford Journals website.
Palisade Cells
Palisade tissue makes up part of a leaf's cellular structure, according to the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) website. Sun leaves are thicker than shaded leaves primarily because these leaves contain two to three layers of palisade cells. Shaded leaves generally only contain one layer of palisade cells.
Chloroplasts
The palisade tissue of the leaves differs because of the way shade and sun leaves use and capture light. According to the SAPS website, shade leaves and sun leaves have differing chloroplast structures. Chloroplasts help capture the sunlight and aid in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light into energy. In shade leaves, the chloroplasts are evenly distributed in the leaf, keeping it thin. In sun leaves, chloroplasts group together and position themselves in bunches where they can gather the most sunlight.
Mesophyll Surface Areas
Another structural element that changes the thickness of a leaf is the mesophyll surface area. The mesophyll surface area of a leaf is related to chloroplast production, according to the Oxford Journals website. The mesophyll is responsible for transporting carbon dioxide to the chloroplasts. As there are generally thicker groupings of chloroplasts in the sun leaves, the mesophyll structure is thicker to compensate.
Leaf Development
According to the SAPS website, the structural differences between sun leaves and shade leaves occur during leaf production and development. Mature, adult leaves are unable to change their structure if the lighting conditions change. This can explain why some people may observe sun leaves that appear brittle, damaged and thin, as observed on the Earth Expeditions website.

Check out these related posts