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Petioles between leaf blades and stem.


Borrowed from French pétiole, and its source, Late Latin petiolus (little foot), diminutive form of Latin pēs (foot).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɛti.əʊl/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɛti.oʊl/


petiole (plural petioles)

  1. (botany) The stalk of a leaf, attaching the blade to the stem.
    Synonym: pedicel (stalk of a flower)
    • 1978, Harry T. Valentine, Estimating Defoliation of Hardwoods Using Blade-petiole Relations, Forest Service Research Paper NE 405, US Department of Agriculture, page 1:
      Most insects consume tissue from the leaf blade were measured just past the twist on the side away only, leaving the leaf petioles unscathed.
    • 1992, Karl J. Niklas, Plant Biomechanics[1], University of Chicago Press, page 167:
      By contrast, the petioles of large pinnate leaves, as well as stems, typically resist torsion by placing stiff materials with high elastic moduli (like sclerenchyma) toward the perimeters of their cross sections.
    • 2000, Mike Hansell, Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour[2], Cambridge University Press:
      An example of this is leaf petioles. Some species of trees have pinnate leaves which, when the leaves fall, shed pinnae from the petiole, which is then left as a tapering, somewhat flexible rod.
  2. (entomology, insect anatomy) A narrow or constricted segment of the body of an insect; especially, the metasomal segment of certain Hymenoptera, such as wasps.
    Synonym: pedicel (used more generally, of arthropods)
  3. (entomology) The stalk at the base of the nest of the paper wasp.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The presence of a petiole (narrow body segment) is the defining characteristic distinguishing the suborder Apocrita (ants, bees and wasps) from the rest of order Hymenoptera (i.e., from the paraphyletic suborder Symphyta).

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