Simple leaves are found on a variety of trees and plants, including mangoes, guava, black cherry trees, black gum trees and several types of oaks. Plants and trees with simple leaves are as numerous and widespread as species with complex or compound leaves. They may even share habitats, but have several key distinguishing features in leaf structure and design that separate them from species bearing compound leaves.
Simple and compound leaves are differentiated on the basis of how leaf blades or lamina are divided. Simple leaves have single blades and may have incisions. However, their incisions are generally superficial and may not be deep enough to divide blades into leaflets, which are subdivisions and key features of compound leaves. Simple leaves have axillary buds present in their axils, while compound leaves do not.
Mango and guava are two types of plants that have simple leaf structures, but this leaf pattern is much more common on deciduous trees. Black cherry trees, which are found in the southeastern United States, are prime examples of trees with simple leaves. These trees are small and shrub-like in appearance, and bear small edible fruits. Black gum trees are found in similar locations, and also have simple leave structures. They are deciduous species and may also produce small fruits.