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Classification of the Architecture of Dicotyledonous Leaves

Leo J. Hickey
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 1973), pp. 17-33
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2441319
Page Count: 17
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Classification of the Architecture of Dicotyledonous Leaves
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Abstract

A classification of the architectural features of dicot leaves-i.e., the placement and form of those elements constituting the outward expression of leaf structure, including shape, marginal configuration, venation, and gland position-has been developed as the result of an extensive survey of both living and fossil leaves. This system partially incorporates modifications of two earlier classifications: that of Turrill for leaf shape and that of Von Ettingshausen for venation pattern. After categorization of such features as shape of the whole leaf and of the apex and base, leaves are separated into a number of classes depending on the course of their principal venation. Identification of order of venation, which is fundamental to the application of the classification, is determined by size of a vein at its point of origin and to a lesser extent by its behavior in relation to that of other orders. The classification concludes by describing features of the areoles, i.e., the smallest areas of leaf tissue surrounded by veins which form a contiguous field over most of the leaf. Because most taxa of dicots possess consistent patterns of leaf architecture, this rigorous method of describing the features of leaves is of immediate usefulness in both modern and fossil taxonomic studies. In addition, as a result of this method, it is anticipated that leaves will play an increasingly important part in phylogenetic and ecological studies.

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