Simple vs. Compound Leaves

Subject:Simple vs. Compound Leaves
Date:Fri, 09 Jun 2000 15:27:40 -0400
From:Francisco Moore

I thought that you might like to know that your web page commentary on inaccuracy of words might be a little bit confusing to some people. For instance you use a text book derived example that relates to technical botanical language. You show a portion of a page of that text. On that diagram there are 3 compound leaves, and 1 simple leaf. The compound leaves contain from 7 to 132 leaflets per leaf (each appearing to be a leaf blade). In the simple leaf there is but one blade which has little, if any, more complexity than the leaflets of the compound leaves. I would conclude that the botanical terms 'Compound and Simple leaf' are in excellent congruence with the general use of compound and simple. It is also an excellent point that the two terms are relative. As a population biologist (theoretical and empirical) I can't comment on the general congruence of botanical terms with common usage. I am competent to assess some of the other definitions you mention. I would say that the definitions of energy and adaptation are simply (not in the botanical sense!) inaccurate.

Having worked in theoretical biology I appreciate the points that you are making about the power of a consistent (mathematical) language. Interestingly, in math as any other language concise Description is predicated on the rigor of initial definition.

In any case I am having fun at your web site.

Thanks,
Paco Moore

Francisco B.-G. Moore
Center for Microbial Ecology
Plant and Soil Science Bldg.
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI

Language of Mathematics, Language of Science and Plain Language

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