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The Leaf

Submitted by smomalley on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:20

The mystery leaf placed on my desk is superficially a green compound leaf with three leaflets branching from the center stem.  The leaflets are translucent with a waxy surface on the top side of the leaf. The back side of the leaf appeares a lighter green, with a matte finish. The leaflets have a red center stem that they all branch off of.  The red center stem continues to about half way throuh each leaflet were it transitions to a yellow center vein. The yellow veins subseuently branch into smaller and smaller veins off of the center vein. There is a golden yellow perimeter of the leaf that follows the asymmetric indentations of each leaflet. The yellow perimeter is periodically interupted by brown masses of damaged tissue left behind by leaf minners. Each mass of brown tissue is unique. There are small three dimentional circular orbs of brown mass that are sitting on the leaflets. These orbs are most likely the eggs left by the leaf minning moths. The eggs enter the upper layer off the leaf tissue and burrow until they exit the leaff to become a new generation off leaf minnig moth. This pattern is shown in each of the brown masses of leaf tissue. The brown tissue starts off thin at one point on the leaflet. As the mass moves towards the outer perimeter of the leaflet, it grows thicker until the edge of the leaflet, where the brown tissue is most concentrated. The leaf minning pattern is what can be used to distinguish one leaf from another.