– pleasantly peltate –

I love when I know the exact word to describe something, whether that “something” is an emotion, a color, taste, or plant part. To help you feel more confident in the words of the botanical world, I’m writing this Botanical Alphabet series. It may or may not be published in exact alphabetical order.

peltate: shield-shaped leaf with the petiole (that little stem that connects the leaf to the main stem of the plant) attached to the lower surface, rather than the base of the leaf

There are so many different shapes and types of leaves, but I think maybe my favorite are peltate leaves. (Maybe? I mean, how do I choose?) I’m not sure why I would choose them as a favorite, except maybe they are more rare? And the rarity makes them special? I mean, I can only think of nasturtiums (pictured here in this post) and lotus that have peltate leaves, though I’m sure there are more.

Or maybe it’s just a fun word to say? I was going to include miner’s lettuce in that list, but when I stopped to think about it, it actually has perfoliate leaves (another fun “p” in the botanical alphabet!). Perfoliate is when the leaf wraps all the way around the stem so that it sometimes seems like the stem is growing right through the middle of the leaf.

Clasping or perfoliated pepperweed (Lepidium perfoliatum)

Peltate. Perfoliate. Similar but different. And both fun to say.

(And if you can think of others – plants with peltate leaves and/or fun words to say – please do let me know in the comments below.)


  1. Whoa! My mind is blown by the perfoliate plant! So cool!

  2. Would a Chinese Money Plant (Pilea) be considered a peltate? I just stumbled across it today and immediately thought of this blog post.

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