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Prunus sargentii leaf

Today, I chose a leaf from a tree in my front yard. Figure 1 shows a leaf of Prunus sargentii, a Japanese Sakura tree. When this tree blooms (usually in April) the lush flowers last for only a few days, but are prized in Japanese culture as a symbol of the fleeting and transient nature of life.

Prunus sargentii leafPrunus sargentii leaf

Figure 1. Prunus sargentii leaf. Upper side of leaf is on left.

The leaves are ovate with a doubly-serrate margin and a left handed twist. The base is slightly asymmetrical. The venation is mostly alternate, but not entirely regular. Each vein curves at the end and connects with the next vein.

The stem is short and has a reddish pigment. There are two reddish glands on the stem the first about a millimeter behind the leaf and the second another millimeter behind the first.

There's no evidence of herbivory or damage to the leaf. I did observe some leaves that had parts missing, usually along the margins. Given the placement of the branches (above a driveway and a path used by people) its possible the leaves were damaged mechanically be people moving past the branches. I did observe a leaf hopper (Homoptera) on one leaf and some silk (spider? caterpillar?) on another.

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