Did you Know Scars On Plants Can Be Beautiful if They Aren’t Grafitti?

by | Sep 14, 2021 | 2 comments

I recently had surgery to fuse some vertebrae in my neck. I have just recently mustered up the courage to look at the scar. It is not attractive in my eyes, but I have been assured this will fade. It has been under wraps which include a neck brace and usually a scarf to cover the brace. If you watch this #gardenchatter, you can see the cover-up.  (Written in November 2014) I’m hoping the scar isn’t too obvious eventually. I do realize that many have scars and they are beautiful to them because of what they have gone through and can celebrate surviving the often horrible circumstances that caused them. 

Thaumatophyllum selloum

The plant we are talking about, Thaumatophyllum selloum

Different scars

I have to tell you though, I have always had a fascination with the leaf scars on houseplants, especially philodendrons (now thaumatophyllum). I love the look of them. 
What is a leaf scar, you ask? A leaf scar is the mark left by a leaf after it falls off the stem of the plant. Technically, it is where the petiole was attached to the stem. 

Leaf scars

Leaf scars on a Thaumatophyllum

leaf scar

Leaf scar showing the vasuclar bundles

Vascular Bundles

In the picture above of the close-up, (sorry it is a little blurry) you can see the vascular bundles. Another definition is in order:

vascular bundles are, as defined in the dictionary:

a longitudinal arrangement of strands of xylem and phloem, and sometimes cambium, that forms the fluid-conducting channels of vascular tissue in the rhizomes, stems, and leaf veins of vascular plants, the arrangement varying with the type of plant.
Too technical? All those spots are the scars of the tubes that carried the water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. That is the simplest way I can explain it. 

Philodendron (now Thaumatophyllum)

The plants below are obviously old as they have a lot of scars showing. In the natural habitat, these plants climb trees. Philodendron comes from the Greek words philo or “love” and dendron “tree”.  The plant starts out on the jungle floor, scrambling along until finding a tree to climb and then it winds itself up the tree to find the light. 

The older the plant, the more leaf scars it has. Makes sense, right? The older we get, the more scars we have, too. Emotional, physical….. It gives us and the plants character, right? 

I love this heart-shaped leaf scar below. I saw it on a philodendron at the New York Botanical Garden. If you look closely at the picture on the right, you can see some leftover petiole pieces on some of the leaf scars. They kind of look like newborn baby belly buttons. Do you see it?

Many of these pictures were taken at botanical gardens and most of us couldn’t support something this big in our homes. Mine is getting quite large but I doubt it will ever be as large as these.  The scars are starting to prominently show though, and I love it! 
Have a great week, plant friends!

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  1. Jayne Sowersby

    Hi Lisa, I am such a “newby” to your world so I’m loving your web sight. I love the way you speak, how you think and your displays. I am redoing the look of my wonderful apartment and am determined to fill it with beautiful green plants. but first I have to learn all about indoor plants.

    I purchased your book “How To Grow In The Dark” and I love it. It’s written so well and the pictures are so beautiful. I have a great apartment for acommedating indoor plants because I have 5 large windows on the north side and 3 large windows on the south side.

    Now i have to find where to buy plants. I haven’t looked at all of your web sight yet so maybe I’ll find that you sell them. we’ll see soon.

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Jayne,
      I’m sorry this is so late. Thank you so much for your comments and for the compliments! I hope you are finding plants. I don’t sell them but hopefully you have a nice garden center near you can buy them from.


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