Difference Between Simple Leaves and Compound Leaves

Main Difference

The difference between simple and compound leaves is that simple leaf is a leaf that have single leaf blade whereas compound leaf is a leaf that have separate and smaller leaf blades.

Simple Leaves vs. Compound Leaves

Two types of leaves are simple leaves and compound leaves; there is a lot of difference between a simple leaf and a compound leaf. Simple leaf is a single leaf that has single leaf blade whereas compound leaves have multiple small leaves. If we compare the simple leaf and compound leaf, we have to examine the leaves of a common plant that are mango, guava, rose and coriander. The main difference between a simple and compound leaf is that simple leaf is a leaf that has a single leaf blade whereas compound leaf is a leaf that has separate and smaller leaf blades. Simple leaf has single incision which makes leaving very whereas there is a deep incision in compound leave that makes the leave divides into many leaflets.

Plants are the most important part of nature, and it increases the beauty of the atmosphere. There are many parts of a plant that are leaves, flowers, fruits, roots and stem. There are many types of plants in the world, and all plants are not the same. Every plant has a different shape and different colour. If we talk about leaves, only three main parts of leave are lamina that is also called leaf blade, petiole and stipule. Stipules are present on the leaf base, petiole joins the stem and leaf. The environment has a huge effect on the leaves, properties and part of the leaves vary from every leave. There are different types of plant, and we can differentiate between the types of plants by looking at the structure of the leaves. Leaves help to tell the kind of plant and trees. Leaves are further divided into simple and compound leaves. If we talk about of simple leaf, simple leaves are undivided and simple leaf blade. Simple leaf grows on twigs that are normally attached to petiole; simple leafs are never divided into smaller or many leaves. Examples of simple leafs are leaves of maples, birch, cherries, elms and oaks. On the other hand, compound leaves are different from simple leaves; compound leaves have many leaves that are known as leaflets, the main vein are further divided into a secondary vein.

Comparison chart

BasisSimpl e leavesCompound leaf
MeaningA simple leaf is a leaf that has single leaf bladesA compound leaf is a leaf that separate and smaller leaf blades.
AxilSimple leave have axilCompound leaf have no axil
LaminaIn simple leaves, there is no division in the laminaIn compound leaves, there is division in the lamina
ExampleExample of a simple leaf is a black gum treeExample of compound leaf is Neem

What is Simple leaf?

Simple leave is a leave that has single leaf blades. There are many examples of simple leaves like the leaves of pear plants, oregano leaves, hibiscus leaves, black oak leaves and many more. In simple leaves, leaf is joint to a stem. Simple leave is attached to the twig by its stem or petiole. If we talk about the edges of simple, edges of simple leaf are smooth and lobed. There are four main parts of simple leave that are

  • Leaf Base

Leaf is attached to leaf base by the stem. Further leaves are divided into monocot and dicot leaves.

  • Stipules

In dicot plants, two flaps structures grow at the base, and they are known as stipules.

  • Petiole

The petiole is the section that joins the base of the leaf to the lamina. There are veins in the petiole that are also known as tubes; these tubes carry food and water to leaf.

  • Leaf Blade or Lamina

The leaf blade is also known as lamina; lamina is a flat, broad and green portion in the leaf. Photosynthesis is one of the most critical functions of plant and photosynthesis occur in the lamina.

What is Compound leaf?

Compound leaf is a leave that separate and smaller leaf blades. In compound leaves, multiple leaflets are attached in middle and leaflet is attached to the stem and stem is attached to the twig. There is a difference between leaf and leaflet; lateral buds are along the twig. Bud node is on the base of the stem in a compound leaf. There are further two types of a compound leaf that are pinnate, double pinnately and palmate.

  • Pinnately leaf

There are multi-divided leaflets in pinnately leaf. There are three types of pinnate leaf that are

  • Even-pinnate leaflet arrangement
  • Odd-pinnate leaflet arrangement
  • Alternate-pinnatelyleaflet arrangement
  • Double Pinnately leaf

Double pinnately leaf is also known as bi-pinnate, double pinnate and twice pinnate. In double pinnately leaf, leaflets are arranged on secondary stems.

  • Palmately Compound

Palmately compound are like a palm frond. Leaflets are arranged in middle and attach to the petiole.

Main Difference

  1. Simple leaf is a leaf that has single leaf blades whereas compound leaf is a leaf that separate and smaller leaf blades.
  2. Simple leaf have axil whereas compound leaf has no axil.
  3. In simple leaves, there is no division in lamina whereas in compound leaves there is division in the lamina.
  4. Example of a simple leaf is black gum tree whereas example of example of compound leaf is Neem.


Simple leaves and compound leaves are entirely different kind of leaves they are different in their approach and properties. In the article above you will see the clear difference between simple leaf and compound leaf.

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Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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