Fun Fact: Leaves with Drip Tips

June 29, 2022

Fun Fact: The proportion of leaves with drip tips in the fossil record can tell you how rainy the climate was.

Drip tips are specialised pointed tips on the ends of leaves of some plants. As their name implies, drip tips help channel water off the leaves quickly. In particularly rainy places, accumulated water can break leaves and provides a perfect place for the growth of algae, mildew, or other nasty microorganisms that thrive in the hot and humid conditions. They are common in rainforests and are more pronounced in shaded understory plants than overstory canopy plants that are exposed to sun and wind. If you measure the proportion of leaves that have drip tips, you can make a pretty reasonable guess of the local rainfall.

Apparently, my living room is very rainy…

If you want to see some drip tips in action (and an excited biologist), follow this link: