Leaf tattoos can have a wide assortment of meanings; however, one of the surest meanings for this symbol is that leaves are an emblem for life. They create energy and oxygen; they are a food source to many life forms, and they protect the earth from unwieldy elements. Whatever type of leaf, and whatever way you choose to depict them, you are certain to add this important denotation to your body art.
To start, it may help to know what several leaves mean. Many leaf tattoos feature ivy, – the leaf itself being a symbol of fidelity and growth – many others may use maple leaves (a symbol for an independent spirit), four leaf clovers (a talisman for luck) and occasionally even marijuana leaves (a symbol generally used to represent certain cultural ideals). You could place any leaf by itself, or create a string or even a bouquet of leaves; for example, you could create a round design featuring dogwood, birch and mulberry leaves to represent wisdom, grace and eternal life.
Most leaf tattoos show a variety of symbols. For instance, you may see an oak leaf – a symbol of liberty – made into an American flag; or a dove creating a nest of elderberry and myrtle leaves — all of which are thought to be symbols of love. For a more unique idea you could use a more colorful leaf, such as from the euphorbia dulcis (or Chameleon) plant, – which are a bronze or burgundy hue, and are long and slender – or the purpleleaf sand cherry, which is a dark hue of purple. In either instance, you could place the boldly colored leaves around other symbols, or simply have them sprouting from flowers with a more subdued hue.
Occasionally you may see leaf tattoos that are placed by themselves; shown as an armband, or trailing down the wearer’s body. Although you can use any number of leaves, one interesting idea would be to use a koru (the Maori name of an unfurling fern frond, which is a symbol of new life and peace). These leaves stem from a spiraling body with a brown tint and small green buds.
Although there is an endless amount of meaning to go along with leaf tattoos, you may find that they are a simply a reminder of the remarkable variety and beauty of nature.