Compound leaves are leaves that have been
divided into more than 1 blade. What may appear to be a leaf is actually only a part
of the bigger leaf attached to a rachis instead of a woody twig. There are usually
at least 3 leaflets. Division may be palmate - originating from the same point or
pinnate - divided along one line. An example of palmately compound leaves is Ohio
Buckeye and an example of pinnately compound leaves is the Black Walnut.
Fabaceae (Bean/Pea Family)
- Leguminosae is an older name for this family. It is a well-known
family, important to mankind economically for agriculture and horticulture. It's a
very large family and is found all over the world. Botanically speaking, it's quite
successful. Species important for food or forage include Arachis hypogaea (Peanut),
Gycine max (Soybean), Pisum sativum (common pea), and Medicago
sativa (Alfalfa). Horticulture species include Lupinus
(Lupine/Bluebonnet) and Wisteria. The flowers in this family are distinct
and leaves are usually compound with stipules (small leaf-like protrusions at the base of
the leaf). The fruit is perhaps the most distinguishable feature. Seeds are
held within a long pod called a legume.
|Albizzia julibrissin (Mimosa) - This tree is from Asia and
it certainly appears to be non-native. It has quite a unique look. There is
only one on campus and it's on the Northwest side of the parking garage. It forms a
very spreading habit, with many trunks and is of small to medium size. The leaves
are very divided with many small leaflets. At night the leaves fold up. The
folding feature is common to relatives of Mimosa. The flowers look like pink and
white puffballs and the fruits are long and flat.
||Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) - The Redbud does not have compound leaves,
but is included here, becuase the rest of its family does. It is a staple of the
American landscape, easily recognized in Spring by its purple flowers. Don't let the
common name throw you. The flowers are never red, however some cultivated varieties
are white. Redbud leaves are large and heart-shaped. The tree is small and
forms several trunks. There are many Redbuds on campus - behind the Union and
scattered all around. One notable specimen lives on the East side of Karls Hall.
It has one trunk with white blooms and one with purple blooms. This is
probably the result of a reversion mutation from a cultivated variety, back to the natural
|Cladrastis lutea (Yellow-Wood) - The one specimen of this species grows behind
the King's Street Annex, next to the parking lot. This tree has been stricken with a
disease and may not live much longer. This is mostly a Southern tree and is found in
Missouri only in the Southern counties. It gets its common name by the yellow dye
that was extracted by early settlers for use in their clothes. The leaves are
pinnately compound and the blooms are white and form large clumps (panicles).
The typical legume flower can be seen in the image to the right, of Cladrastis.
||Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey Locust) - Most native Honey Locusts have ominous
thorns all over the twigs and trunk. They grow all over Missouri in richer soils.
The trees on the Missouri State campus have no thorns. They can be found around the
Performing Arts Hall and along the sidewalk, South of Hill Hall. The leaves are
pinnately divided with small leaflets - turning bright yellow in the Fall. The tree
grows quickly and forms an irregular but striking habit. The fruits are good in
identification. They are long, flat and often twist into weird shapes.
|Sophora japonica (Japanese Pagoda-Tree) - This also called Scholar Tree.
The common name reveals the native region of this tree. There is only one
specimen on campus - in between Hill and Craig Hall next to a large Ash. It looks
like the Honey-Locusts that grow near it. This particular specimen is larger than
the Honey-Locusts. As most Legumes, it has pinnately compound leaves and long flat
Hippocastanaceae (Horse Chestnut
Family) - This is a woody family with deeply palmately lobed or
compound leaves. Fruits resemble that of Chestnut's, which is where the common name
is derived. There are only two genera in this small family. They are closely
related to the Sapindaceae, which is covered later.
|Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye) - The
Ohio Buckeye is not only native to Ohio, but much of the Midwest including Missouri.
They grow in the wetter soils of the Ozarks. On campus, there is one on the
Northwest side of Pummil Hall and another North of Wells. They are easily recognized
by their 5 - leaflet, palmately divided leaves and can be distinguished from Horse
Chestnut by the number of leaflets. Horse Chestnut often has more than 5. The
bloom is a large bunch (panicle) of off-white flowers in Spring after the leaves appear.
||Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse-Chestnut) - A planted tree, this species is native to
the Balkan region and parts of Asia and is planted in the U.S. for shade. It has
more leaflets and a more varied margin than Ohio Buckeye, but is otherwise very similar.
The only representative on the Missouri State campus lives just inside of the playground by
Wells. (just South of Madison and West of National)
|Aesculus pavia (Red
Buckeye) - Red Buckeye has red flowers and a red tinge to the leaves.
It's a very small tree and is often planted underneath large trees. The leaves are
very similar to Ohio Buckeye. This is a recent addition to the main part of campus -
in front (East) of Karls Hall amongst the landscaping. There is also another
specimen growing on Missouri State grounds South of Grand Avenue.
Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)
- This is a family of trees with compound leaves and
hairy, prominent buds. They typically have earthy scented fruits and leaves.
Flowers are in catkins and fruits are large and round (catkins are linear bunches of green
flowers that hang). Several members are prized for lumber and edible nuts.
||Carya ovata (Shagbark
Hickory) - Although the Ozarks has numerous native Carya species,
only this one appears on the campus. It does grow in the Springfield area but is
more prominent North of the Missouri River. Identification of older specimens is
easy becuase of the shaggy grey bark. It grows very straight and slowly, as do all
hickories and can be large. The leaves are pinnately divided and form 5 leaflets
(most hickories can have more than 5 leaflets). The campus representatives grow
alongside Hammons Residence Hall on the West, along the North side of the Tennis Courts
and there are two tall trees East of the Hammons Student Center Parking lot.
|Juglans cinera (Butternut)
- Although the Butternut is native, it's often forgotten
because it has become rare. The Butternut Canker is reaking havoc on the population.
It's a fungus, probably of foreign origin and forms cankers on the leaves of the
tree. Leaves are pinnately divided and have many leaflets (7-14). It can be
distinguished from Walnut by three conspicuous characteristics. It has light grey
smooth bark and a more spreading habit whereas the Walnut has dark, furrowed bark and a
straighter habit. The fruit is oblong where the Walnut is round. They can be
found in several places on campus. There are two behind Temple Hall and another
North of the Basketball courts.
||Juglans nigra (Walnut)
- Native Ozarkers probably take Walnuts for granted, because they occur all over
the state in many soils. The tree is very prized in regioins where it is less
common. The wood is arguably the most sought after of any tree and they grow slowly,
so large trees are often coveted by loggers. The leaves have numerous leaflets and
are usually missing the single end leaflet like the hickories. The fruit is edible
and easily recognized. The tree puts out a chemical called jugalone that inhibits
other woody species from germinating around the area. The effect of this can be seen
when strolling through the woods through "Walnut Groves". Missouri State
recently cut down an old Walnut that grew East of Ellis Hall. There are some living
representatives along National, next to Cheek and Ellis.
Oleaceae (Olive Family) -
This family contains some famous genera other than the one listed
below. Also occuring on campus is Syringa (Lilac). It grows around
Temple and in between Carrington and McDonald arena. Olea (Olive) is well
known for its fruits and Jasmine is also well known. All members are woody and have
opposite leaves, simple or pinnately compound.
|Chionanthus virginicus (Fringe Tree) - The Fringe Tree is native to just a few
counties South of Springfield and ranges mostly South from there. It does quite well
further North when planted. The lone Missouri State specimen grows on the Southeast corner of
the Union. It's small yet fully grown. The leaves are simple, with smooth
margins and occur opposite each other on the branch. (They look similar to Magnolia
leaves, but Magnolia leaves are alternate.) The flower is the most distinguishing
characteristic. They hang in clusters appearing as fringe or a beard. Another
common name is "Old Man's Beard".
|Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green Ash) - Green ash is common in
cities, often planted for its wide spreading crown. They can reach massive
proportions and the examples on campus are no exception. They were probably planted
around the time the school was founded - almost 100 years ago! The Ash pictured is
growing behind Craig Hall. They have pinnately compound leaves with 5-7
leaflets. Out of the context of a forest, they form 2 or 3 large trunks. The
bark is brown and has a braided appearance. The fruit of Ash is easy to confuse with
Maple. It's winged like a maple, but has a much different structure upon close
examination. Missouri's other common Ash - the White Ash does not appear on campus
but looks very similar.
Sapindaceae (Soapberry Family) - Most of this family can be
found in tropical or similar climates, but a few exist in temperate zones. They're
all woody, with alternate, compound leaves and small flowers.
||Koelreuteria paniculata (Golden-Rain Tree) - Golden Rain Tree is a very common city
tree along roadsides. You'll see it in Springfield along roads. It forms a
very uniform, spherical habit and remains a medium sized tree. It has bright yellow
blooms in mid summer that turn into brown seed pods. They persist the rest of the
year and look rather like dead branches from a distance. On campus, they're planted
alongside National Avenue and there is a lone specimen on the Southwest corner of McDonald
arena. The leaves are very divided. They're pinnately compound and each
leaflet is pinnately lobed.
Simaroubaceae (Quassia Family)
- This woody family is found mostly in the tropics. There are
virtually none in North America but Ailanthus has been introduced and naturalized in some
areas. Leaves are usually alternate.
|Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) - This
is a native of Siberia, as evident by the late arriving and early falling leaves. It
has very large compound leaves with 10-16 leaflets and very large petioles. They
resemble Sumac and Walnut leaves. The bark is perfectly smooth with a tinge of red
and the habit is unique. Tree of Heaven forms suckers all around the parent tree,
making it quite a pest. (A grove may only be one tree) This was the tree
featured in "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn". There are 3 representatives on
campus, two South of Kemper Hall and one West of the Public Affairs building. There
are many other examples off campus.
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