Vocabulary Definitions and Context

Cover-Leave it to Leaves

Carbon dioxide:
a gas that a leaf needs so it can do photosynthesis
Context: Leaves use the carbon dioxide we exhale to do photosynthesis.
Chlorophyll:
the pigment that makes leaves green
Context: Leaves cannot do photosynthesis without chlorophyll.
Compost:
a mixture of rotting leaves and other plant stuff
Context: Create a compost pile and you’re helping nature make more dirt!
Deciduous:
plants that lose their leaves in the winter
Context: Deciduous cottonwood trees like to grow near the Canadian River in the Panhandle of Texas.
Decompose:
when things get rotten
Context: When leaves decompose, they add stuff to the soil that helps new plants grow better.
Epidermis:
a see-through skin that protects the leaf and helps it breathe
Context: The leaves of many desert plants have a thick epidermis so they don’t lose too much water.
Evergreen:
plants that do not lose their leaves in the winter
Context: In west Texas, the alligator juniper tree is an evergreen.
Glucose:
a sugary food that the plant either uses right away or stores for later
Context: When plants do photosynthesis they make glucose.
Mesophyll:
the part of the leaf where sunlight (energy) gets changed into food
Context: "M" stands for "mesophyll" and "middle" because the mesophyll is in the middle of the leaf!
Oxygen:
a gas all animals need to breathe
Context: Plants make oxygen, which helps us because that’s what we breathe!
Photosynthesis:
what leaves do to change sunlight (energy) into food
Context: To do photosynthesis, leaves must have some green cholorphyll.
Pigment:
what gives leaves their colors
Context: Pigments give leaves those beautiful red, yellow, and orange fall colors!
Sycamore Leaf

Copyright 2010, Jeff Parker

Vein:
tubes that carry food and water inside leaves
Context: Check out the big vein that goes right down the middle of a sycamore leaf!

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