Stop High Speed Rail – Banner
Home and Garden – Banner
It is forecast to be Mostly Cloudy at 7:00 PM PDT on April 24, 2015
Mostly Cloudy
Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report: Stipules

SCV Outdoor Report: Stipules

By Wendy Langhans

Suppose you lived in ancient Rome and wanted the “Char-io-let” dealer to build you a chariot.  You and the dealer would enter into an oral agreement by asking and answering each other’s questions in a public ceremony.  Then you would be given a straw – a stipula in Latin – as a pledge of future delivery.

In the 18th century, the Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus adapted this Latin word to invent the botanical term, stipule.  He used this word to describe the “outgrowths borne on either side of the base of a leafstalk” (technically known as the petiole).  In other words, the stuff you find at the bottom of the leaf stem.   Stipules can appear as glands, scales, hairs, spines or leaf-like structures.  Here are a few examples.

From a rose bush:


and from a California Sycamore tree (Platanus racemosa):


Stipules may have originally evolved to protect emerging leaves, but now they are found in less than 1/4 of all flowering plants.  Depending on their type, they can serve several functions.  Spikey stipules may protect the plant against large herbivoires, or provide a home for the ants who protect the plant from other, smaller herbivoires.  And the leaf-like stipules may provide additional food for the plant through photosynthesis.

Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox.

So why did Linneaus choose this particular word to describe these botanical outgrowths?  Well, Latin was the international language of that time and place, especially among the educated class.  And it’s true that a stalk of straw often has a leaf wrapped around it, like a stipule surronds the petiole.  But, I think Linneaus was also making a pun.  The stipula comes before the real leaf, just as in ancient Rome, the stipula came before the “real deal”.



Upcoming Outdoor Events:

Saturday, March 12 – Sunday, May 29, SCV Search & Rescue Trail Challenge 2011: 12 Weeks/12 Hikes.  Click here for more information.

Saturday, May 14, 1 – 3 PM, Water-Loving Wildflowers at Elsmere Canyon.  The small steam in Elsmere Canyon has its own special set of wildflowers.  Savor the cool shade and its floral inhabitants on this easy hike. Meet at the Whitney Canyon parking lot.  For directions and trail maps, click here.

Trail Maintenance Schedule.  Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails.  Contact Steve at for time and place.

Wednesday mornings, April 6, 13, 20, 27.

Saturday mornings, April 9, 23.

For a glimpse of our local flowering plants, check out the Facebook page, “90 Days of Santa Clarita Valley Wildflowers”.


You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The SCV Outdoor Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, click here or go to

NEW!!!  Check out the new Facebook page  – L.A. Mountains!!!

SCV Outdoor Report: Stipules

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About KHTS AM 1220

High Speed Rail – News Banner
AV Party Rental – News Banner
Action Family Counseling – News Banner
Hugo Naturals – News Banner
Academy Swim Club – News Banner
College Of The Canyons – News Banner
Beyond Harmony – News Banner
All American Bail Bonds – News Banner
Adage IT – Tile
IHOP – Tile
College Of The Canyons – Tile
AV Party Rental – Tile
Patterson’s Collision Center – Tile
LA Zoo – Tile – Contest