Compound Leaves


Definition - What does Compound Leaves mean?

The defining characteristics of compound leaves is that their leaf blade is divided into leaflets. Compound leaves is one of the four different type of leaves.

There are five different type of compound leaves: palmately compound, pinnately compound, pinnately and plamately trifoliate, twice pinnately compound and pinnatid. Examples of plants with compound leaves include, chestnut hemp, and cassava.

MaximumYield explains Compound Leaves

Leaves branch out from the plant stem and facilitate photosynthesis, which is key for plant growth. The defining characteristic of a compound leaf is that the blade of the leaf is split to create two or more leaflets. Plant morphology further divides compound leaves into different categories based on their structure. Leaf distinction is a key part of plant morphology and determining species and families of botany.

A palmately compound leaf does not have any rachis or stem bearing flower stalks and the leaflets stem out of the tip of the petiole. A pinnately compound leaf, on the other hand, has rachis or stem-bearing flower stalks, which are a petiole. Pinnately compound leaflets have either an even number of leaflets or one odd terminal leaflet.

Pinnately and plamately trifoliate compound leaves are composed of three leaflets that stem out of the tip of the petiole or the rachis, respectively. Twice pinnately compound leaves are pinnately compound leaflets but with leaflets further branching out from leaflets. Pinnatid compound leafs are pinnately compound leafs that are dissected at the midrib.

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