Leaves. View of leaves of a tree (family Melastomataceae) found in tropical rainforest. This is a largely tropical family characterised by pli- nerved leaves with numerous perpendicular cross- veins. The tree seen here is second-growth and so needs direct sunlight. Consequently the leaves are arrayed in the same direction with hardly any overlap to receive the maximum amount of solar radiation. The non-linear arrangement of veins, which carry nutrients and water to and from the leaves, shows that this is a dicotyledonous plant. Photographed in Costa Rica.
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