The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
A leaf always turns its upper side towards the sky so that it may the better receive, on all its surface, the dew which drops gently from the atmosphere. And these leaves are so distributed on the plant as that one shall cover the other as little as possible, but shall lie alternately one above another as may be seen in the ivy which covers the walls. And this alternation serves two ends; that is, to leave intervals by which the air and sun may penetrate between them. The 2nd reason is that the drops which fall from the first leaf may fall onto the fourth or--in other trees--onto the sixth.