Difference Between Simple and Compound Leaves

Simple vs Compound Leaves

Leaf is the most important photosynthetic structure that can be found in plants. The leaf characteristics can be used in identification of plants. Generally plant genus can be determined by using leaf characteristics. Mainly two types of leaves can be seen in plants; namely, simple and compound leaves.

Simple Leaves

Simple leaves generally have only one flattened leaf blade that is directly connected to the stem or branch of the plant. Most plants have simple leaves with petioles or without petioles. These simple leaves can be varying according to their shape. Though generally simple leaves are larger than the leaflets of many compound leaves, there can be some exceptions. Therefore, the ideal way to determine whether simple or compound is by observation of axillary bud. If there is an axillary bud that is near the axil when compared to leaflets of compound leaves, then it can be identified as a simple leaf. Examples: Mango, Guava.

Compound Leaves

Compound leaves are composed of many leaflets, which are attached to the elongated petiole or the rachis. Leaflets can be confused with simple leaves, but it can be differentiated by observing the placement of axillary buds. Leaflets of a compound leave do not contain axillary bud near their petiolules.

Having compound leaves is advantageous to plants in many ways. According to scientific findings, it reduces water loss in arid seasons and helps to grow quickly by using the compound leaves as branches. So this type of leaves can be seen in tropical and early-successional species. According to the arrangement of leaflets, there are two types of compound leaves. They are pinnate compound leaves and palmate compound leaves. Examples: Rose, Coriander, Azadirachta indica (Neem), Moringa.

Simple vs Compound Leaf

• Simple leaves have only one leaf blade, whereas compound leaves have two or more leaflets, which are connected to the rachis.

• Simple leaves are attached to the stem or branch through petiole, whereas leaflets of compound leaves are attached to mid rachis through petiolules.

• Simple leaves have axillary buds near the petioles, whereas the leaflets of compound leaves do not have such structure near petiolules, but there is an axillary bud at the beginning of a compound leaf.