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Leaf Description and Identification Tools
Modern Cleared Leaf Database

Comparison of the venation patterns of angiosperms leaves is difficult because the chlorophyll in the leaf tissue often obscures the finer vein patterns. This problem can be solved by clearing or x-raying the leaves. Two large collections of cleared leaves at the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University provide some of the best comparative material for studying the distribution of leaf vein patterns across the 410 families of extant angiosperms. Many of these leaves are shown here for comparison with the Green River fossil leaves and to illustrate the morphotype categories.  See the Modern Cleared Leaf Database for more.

The Leaf Architecture Working Group (LAWG) Manual

In an ongoing attempt to improve the terminology of leaf description, LAWG has published a manual (1999 version available for download at www.peabody.yale.edu/collections/pb/MLA/). This manual provides specific definitions for all categories of leaf size, shape, and venation.

Compendium Index

The Compendium Index of North American Mesozoic and Cenozoic Type Fossil Plants is a set of approximately 12,000 illustrations (including line drawings, half-tones and photographs) and 9,800 pages of accompanying text. This one-of-kind identification tool for fossil plant material organizes the systematic literature of paleobotany into a series of categories based on morphological features of fossil plants, such as leaf shape or the pattern of venation. The Index is housed at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven and may be visited with permission from the curator, Leo Hickey.

This Website

Flowchart depicting structure of the identification menus of this website
(Category “bins” are numbered for easy reference.)

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