10 Difference Between Simple And Compound Leaf With Examples

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Simple Leaf

 In a simple leaf such as guava, banana, sycamore or mango leaf, the blade is completely undivided. The leaf shape may also be formed of lobes, where the gap between the lobes does reach to the main vein. There are four main parts of a simple leaf and they include:

  • Leaf base:  This is the slightly expanded area where the leaf attaches to the stem.
  • Stipules: The position of stipules on a plant leaf varies from species to species, though they are located near the base of a leaf. Stipules are common on dicotyledons, where they appear in pairs alongside each leaf and may resemble scales, spines or glands.
  • Petiole: this is a stalk that attaches a leaf to the stem. Depending on plant species, the petiole can be long, short or completely absent, in which case the blade attaches directly to the stem and is said to be sessile.
  • Leaf blade or lamina:  This is the terminal thin, expanded and green part of the leaf which performs the function of photosynthesis. The lamina consists of a central tissue known as mesophyll, surrounded on either side by upper and lower epidermis.

Compound Leaf

In a compound leaf, the leaf blade is completely divided, forming leaflets. Examples include Neem, Rose, Buckeye, shame plant, Baobab, Desert cotton, poison ivy and horse chestnut.  The compound leaf can be classified further into the following types:

  • Palmately  compound Leaf

A palmately compound leaf has its leaflets radiating outwards from the end of the petiole like fingers of the palm of a hand. Examples of such plants with this type of leaves include: poison ivy, buckeye tree and umbrella plant.

  • Pinnately compound Leaf

Pinnately compound leaf has leaflets with feather-like appearance. The leaflets are arranged along the middle vein. Examples of plants with this type of leaves include: rose leaves, hickory leaves, pecan, ash or walnut tree leaves.

  • Bipinnately compound Leaf

Bipinnately compound leaf has leaflets arranged along a secondary vein (one of the several veins branching off the middle vein. Silk tree (Albizia) is an example of a plant with bipinnate leaves.

What You Need To Know About Simple Leaf

  • A simple leaf is a single leaf that is never divided into smaller leaflet units. It is always attached to a twig by its stem or the petiole.
  • In simple leaves, the base of the leaf may have stipules.
  • In simple leaves, the lateral bud of the simple leaf occurs at the base of the petiole.
  • Simple leaves have a single leaf blade that is connected by a petiole to a twig. The leaf blade is not divided into smaller, individual leaflets.
  • In simple leaves, there is no division in lamina.
  • Examples of a simple leaf are maple, guava, oak, mango, black cherry, black gum, sycamore, sweat gum.

What You Need To Know About Compound Leaf

  • A compound leaf on the other hand is divided to the midrib, forming two or more distinct blades or leaflets on a common axis, the leaflets themselves occasionally being compound.
  • In compound leaves, the stipules may occur at the base of the whole leaf but corresponding structures are absent at the base of the leaflets.
  • In compound leaves there are no lateral buds at the base of each leaflet.
  • Compound leaves are divided into separate blades (leaflets).
  • In compound leaves there is division in the lamina.
  • Neem, Rose, Buckeye, shame plant, Baobab, Desert cotton, poison ivy, horse chestnut and clover leaves.

Also Read: Difference Between Parallel And Reticulate Venation In Leaf

Difference Between Simple And Compound Leaf In Tabular Form

ELEMENTS OF COMPARISON SIMPLE LEAF COMPOUND LEAF
Description A simple leaf has a single blade, which is completely undivided.   The blades of a compound leaf are divided into distinct parts referred to as leaflets.  
Bud An axillary bud is present in the axil of a simple leaf.   A bud lies in the axil of the whole leaf but the individual leaflets do not bear axillary buds.  
Stipules The base of the leaf may have stipules.   The stipules may occur at the base of the whole leaf but corresponding structures are absent at the base of the leaflets (exception-beans).  
Development The simple leaves may be borne in one or more planes.   Leaflets of a compound leaf are always borne in one plane.  
Leaflets A simple leaf blade is present without any further division to leaflets.   Leaves divided into separated and distinguishable two or more blades.  
Division In Lamina In simple leaves, there is no division in lamina.   In compound leaves, there is division in the lamina.  
Incision Of The Leaf Blade The incision of the leaf blade does not reach the midrib or the petiole attached directly to the stem.   The incision of the leaf blade reaches the mid rib, thereby dividing the leaf into a number of segments.  
Lamina Size Generally, simple leaves have a broader lamina/blade when compared to compound leaves.   Generally, compound leaves have a relatively smaller lamina/blade when compared to the simple leaves.  
Further Classification Simple leaves have no further classification or types.   Compound leaf can be further divided into the following types: Palmately, Pinnately, Bipinnately etc.  
Example Oak, Black cherry, Banana, Mango, Sweat gum, Maple, Black gum etc.   Shame plant, Rose, Clover, Baobab, Neem, Buckeye, Desert cotton, Horse chesnut, Poison ivy etc.

Similarities between simple and Compound leaf

  • They both occur in dicot plants.
  • The leaf’s primary role is photosynthesis.
  • Leaves show some adaptation to the environment in which the plant exist.
  • Lamina, petiole, and stipule are the main components of both leaf forms.

 

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