Stem and Leaf Plot Definition

Stem and Leaf Plot DefinitionStem and leaf plots are used to graphically show sets of data in a clear, visual way.

Instead of having many different numbers in a single list, these plots are used to order, organize, and gather statistical information from the set. Like most graphs, they make a complicated, unorganized mess of information and make it visually appealing.

As the name suggests, there are two parts of the plot: the stem and the leaves.

On a standard stem and leaf plot the stem is on the left. It contains many numbers, ordered from smallest (top) to largest (bottom). A vertical line is drawn on the right side of the stem to separate the stem from the leaves.

The leaves are on the right side of the plot. Each number on the leaf side of the plot represents one single data point from the number set. They two are organized from smallest to largest, separated by commas.

Stem and Leaf Plot Pros and Cons


  • Visually represents complicated lists of numbers
  • Can be used on one, two, and three digit numbers
  • Can be used on decimals
  • Can be used for money values (Dollars and Cents)
  • Can be used to find Mean, Median, and Mode (Statistical Measures)


  • The numbers must be placed in order of lowest to highest
  • Not good if maximum or minimum numbers lie far away from the rest
  • Not great if there are more than one decimal place

Stem and Leaf Plots are a great way to organize lists of numbers. Click Here for more information on Stem and Leaf Plots, including how to construct them, examples, worksheets, quizzes, and more.


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