I'm looking for a word which refers to the structure and shape of leaves or the study thereof, probably with a prefix like phyllo-. 'Phyllomorphy', which was my first guess, isn't it, and I think 'phyllome' refers to the leaf in general, rather than its geometry or structure specifically.

The word does not have to come from a Greek root.

  • William Macgillivray, in A Manual of Botany, seems to label 'phyllology' a non-word (and to advocate against the coining of a word with so specific a meaning) as far back as 1840. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 20 '15 at 22:11
  • Note that there are well-established names for the shapes of individual leaves. – Hot Licks Apr 20 '15 at 22:22
  • A quick google search reveals nothing for 'phyllomorphology' (which is definitely the first choice if one were to coin it), and many appropriate references for 'leaf morphology'. – Mitch Apr 20 '15 at 22:28

Phytomorphology (or Plant Morphology) is the study of the physical form and external structure of plants. This would include leaves and leaf structures.

phyto- (derived from the Ancient Greek for "plant:" φυτόν; phutón) is a prefix defined as "that which pertains to or is derived from plants," and morphology, which is a scientific study of form and structure; in biology this would be the form and structure of animals and plants.

"As a scientific discipline, plant morphology is 211 [years] old, originated by Goethe in 1790." (From: "The science of plant morphology: definition, history, and role in modern biology" by Donald R. Kaplan; American Journal of Botany).

If you truly want to get more specific, you would just refer to your study of leaves alone as "Leaf Morphology," or maybe perhaps "Phyllomorphology" (Phyllo- being the greek for "leaf:" φύλλο).

Phyllomorphology as opposed to Phyllotaxonomy (the scientific identification, naming, and classification of living things: specifically leaves).

  • I'm considering that, but was hoping for something specifically to do with leaves, rather than the entire plant (which includes stems and trunks and roots and the like, as well)... – Augusta Apr 20 '15 at 22:15
  • @Augusta - You could always use "leaf morphology". – Hot Licks Apr 20 '15 at 22:23
  • @Augusta I enhanced my answer, and managed to unknowingly say the same thing as Hot Licks... just with considerably more words. You should probably stick to Phytomorphology, "Plant Morphology," or "Leaf Morphology," as they are better known names for what you intend to study in the world of biology. Related: phytomorphology.org – AWMoore Apr 20 '15 at 22:30
  • @AWMoore I'll probably end up going with 'phyllomorphology' or something the like. (I'm already using 'phyllotaxis' for something else, so that's out!) Whether it's an actual word or not isn't super-duper important, I just thought it would be nice if it was. Thanks! :D – Augusta Apr 20 '15 at 22:55

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