We see many plants around us. They are of different shapes, sizes and colors. They are found in different places. Some are found on land and some on mountains some grow in water. Plants live in different surroundings. Over millions of years, they have changed slowly to suit themselves to their surroundings or environment. This process is called adaptation.

Trees are tall plants that can live for long time. They have a thick wooden stem called trunk. From which branches grow with leaves on them.

Herbs are very small plants. Their stems are soft and green. They only live for one season. Leaves, flowers or seeds of herbs are used to flavor food, as medicines or for their pleasant smell. Tulasi, coriander and mint are herbs.

Plants are very useful to us. They give us food. We get food grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables from plants.

We should never burn dry leaves. They cause air pollution.

Different leaves

Have you ever noticed that leaves of different plants are of different size color, shape and smell?

There are big leaves

1) Big leaves- banana. 2) Small leaves- Tulasi

There are leaves of different colors.

1) Yellow leaves- birch. 2) Red leaves –maple.

Leaves have different textures. Some are soft and some are hard. Leaves have different smells. These are examples-

1) Mint leaves. 2) Curry leaves.

Even the margins of leaves are different from each other. Some have straight margins and some uneven.

1) Mango leaves have straight margins. 2) Papaya leaf has uneven margins.

Uses of leaves do you know leaves are called the food factories of a plant?

This is because they have a green coloring material called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll along with air, water, carbon dioxide and sunlight helps a plant to make food by a process called photosynthesis.

Leaves are very useful to us.

We eat some leaves as vegetables. Some leaves are used to add flavor to the food.

Leaves of plants like Neem and Tulasi have medicinal value. Tulasi helps us cure cold. Betal leaves help us heal our wounds. They have curative and digestive properties.

Tea is made from the dry leaves of the tea plant. Cigarette is made from the dry leaves of the tobacco plant. Some leaves are considered sacred. Paan and bel leaves are used in religious ceremonies.

Mehendi leaves are used to color hands and feet. People also use it for coloring their hair. Banana leaves are used as (meal) plates called `pattals’. Coconut and palm leaves are used in the roofs of kutcha houses. The peoples are decorates their houses with banana or mango leaves on festive occasions. Some textiles used in our houses have leaf patterns on them.

Dry leaves are also used for making manure. Many trees shed their leaves during autumn season. This is termed as seasonal shedding of leaves. These leaves are collected. A deep pit is dug in the ground. This pit is called compost-pit. Leaves are put into the pit along with fruit and peels.

When all this material rots, it turns into manure n a few weeks. This manure is used by farmers to increase the fertility of soil.



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