How are ''fronds'' different from ''leaves''?

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by janeslogin, May 1, 2012.

  1. janeslogin

    janeslogin Member

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    Is the difference anatomical, physiological, something else altogether?
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I've always thought of fronds as the full unit grouping of heavily divided leaves - like what palms have. Each individual leaflet, attached in series to the petiole, makes up the frond. Other plants that I'd consider to have fronds include cycads, tomatoes, and potatoes. So that would make it an anatomical difference of arrangement.

    Leaves, on the other hand, are entire units. All green plants (excluding the algae, of course) have leaves, but not all plants have fronds.
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Web definitions seem to vary. I like this from Wikipedia.

    Funny, the second part contradicts the definition of "large divided leaf". I have only thought of it in reference to ferns. Seems more like a poetic term than a botanical one.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A frond of Asplenium scolopendrium is simple, undivided:
     

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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Acquaintances may come and go, but fronds will never leaf you.

    It all depends on whether one wants to use botanical terminology or vernacular terminology. To a botanist, a tomato is a fruit, as one example. I would agree with Wikipedia's usage of frond in the botanical sense: ferns for sure, and sometimes palms and cycads.
     
  6. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    My plant morphology/anatomy teacher, the late William Dickinson, completely avoided "fronds". It was always "leaves." Still, usage is as Daniel Mosquin says.
     
  7. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member 10 Years

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    Its intetesting, because ferns have fronds, and so we might think its a botanical distinction. But palms also have fronds. So then it seems that its a morphological distinction! In which case Ash (Fraxinus) and Rowan (Sorbus) have fronds! Also not all ferns have divided 'fronds'
    One to ponder!
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    On plants whose spores occur on the leaves, those leaves are called "fronds"?

    I think Lycophytes technically ruin this as a definition.

    On the Wikipedia Monilophyte page (which redirects to Ferns), it says the fern leaves are often called fronds "... because of the historical division between people who study ferns and people who study seed plants, rather than because of differences in structure."
     

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