Interesting maple leaf

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Fri Jun 30 11:51:11 CDT 2000

One of my students and I came across a red maple (Acer rubrum) leaf that
has an intresting morphology: essentially, there are two separate leaf
blades at the apex of the petiole (but neither has the shape of a typical
mature red maple leaf and they are essentially mirror images of each

I wonder if this is an atavism suggesting that the ancestral leaf form was
compound, e.g, like the leaves of box elder (Acer negundo).  My
understanding is that the modern simple leaves of Prunus (cherries,
plums, etc.) are derived from compound leaves and I wonder if the same has
been suggested for maples.

Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |

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