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Name: Mary
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Why do trees have many small leaves rather than a few large leaves?

Some species of trees have small leaves while other trees have large leaves.

The relative size (and shape) of the leaves is often characteristic of the species of tree.

Trees in tropical rainforests often have larger leaves to capture more sunlight and make more food (photosynthesis).

Trees in cold boreal forests are often evergreen, needle-bearing trees to capture sunlight in the cold months of the year to continue photosynthesis, and smaller and needle-like to avoid drying out.

The following might be helpful to you and your students:


Anthony R. Brach
Missouri Botanical Garden
c/o Harvard University Herbaria

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