The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
The tips of the boughs of plants [and trees], unless they are borne down by the weight of their fruits, turn towards the sky as much as possible.
The upper side of their leaves is turned towards the sky that it may receive the nourishment of the dew which falls at night.
The sun gives spirit and life to plants and the earth nourishes them with moisture.  With regard to this I made the experiment of leaving only one small root on a gourd and this I kept nourished with water, and the gourd brought to perfection all the fruits it could produce, which were about 60 gourds of the long kind, andi set my mind diligently [to consider] this vitality and perceived that the dews of night were what supplied it abundantly with moisture through the insertion of its large leaves and gave nourishment to the plant and its offspring--or the seeds which its offspring had to produce--.
The rule of the leaves produced on the last shoot of the year will be that they will grow in a contrary direction on the twin branches; that is, that the insertion of the leaves turns round each branch in such a
way, as that the sixth leaf above is produced over the sixth leaf below, and the way they turn is that if one turns towards its companion to the right, the other turns to the left, the leaf serving as the nourishing breast for the shoot or fruit which grows the following year.
209:205 : A French translation of lines 9-12 was given by M. RAVAISSON in the Gazette des Beaux Arts, Oct. 1877; his paper also contains some valuable information as to botanical science in the ancient classical writers and at the time of the Renaissance.