AskDefine | Define palmate

Dictionary Definition

palmate adj
1 (of the feet of water birds) having three toes connected by a thin fold of skin
2 of a leaf shape; having leaflets or lobes radiating from a common point [syn: palm-shaped]

User Contributed Dictionary


From palmatus, by extension (as palma acquired the meaning "palm tree"), "palm-leaf shaped".


  1. mostly botany Having three or more lobes or veins arising from a common point.
    Although palmate leaves are typical of most Western maples, a number of species have leaves without lobes.
  2. qualifier leaves Having more than three leaflets arising from a common point, often in the form of a fan.
    • 1909, Eleanor Stockhouse Atkinson, "In the Tree Tops", The How and Why Library.
      The horse chestnut, buckeye and hickory trees have palmate leaves. That is, the broad oval leaflets are all set around the tip of a common leaf stem, spreading in a circle, like the ribs of a palm leaf fan.
  3. Having webbed appendage; palmated.
    The Palmate Newt is a common Western European amphibian.
  4. Hand-like; shaped like a hand with extended fingers

Usage notes

  • The word is rare outside of technical writing, and hardly ever qualify things other than leaves.
  • A compound leaf with more than three leaflets (trifoliate) radiating from the same point is more usually called palmate or palmately compound to avoid ambiguity.
  • While "palmated" is a more usual term when referring to webbed appendages. "Palmate" is often found in zoological nomenclature as the Latin term for both meanings is palmatus.

See also

Usage notes




Extensive Definition

In botany, the following terms are used to describe the shape of plant leaves:
  • Acicular (acicularis): Slender and pointed, needle-like
  • Acuminate (acuminata): Tapering to a long point
  • Aristate (aristata): Ending in a stiff, bristle-like point
  • Bipinnate (bipinnata): Each leaflet also pinnate
  • Cordate (cordata): Heart-shaped, stem attaches to cleft
  • Cuneate (cuneata): Triangular, stem attaches to point
  • Deltoid (deltoidea): Triangular, stem attaches to side
  • Digitate (digitata): Divided into finger-like lobes
  • Elliptic (elliptica): Oval, with a short or no point
  • Falcate (falcata): sickle-shaped
  • Flabellate (flabellata): Semi-circular, or fan-like
  • Hastate (hastata): shaped like a spear point, with flaring pointed lobes at the base
  • Lance-shaped, lanceolate (lanceolata): Long, wider in the middle
  • Linear (linearis): Long and very narrow
  • Lobed (lobata): With several points
  • Obcordate (obcordata): Heart-shaped, stem attaches to tapering point
  • Oblanceolate (oblanceolata): Top wider than bottom
  • Oblong (oblongus): Having an elongated form with slightly parallel sides
  • Obovate (obovata): Teardrop-shaped, stem attaches to tapering point
  • Obtuse (obtusus): With a blunt tip
  • Orbicular (orbicularis): Circular
  • Ovate (ovata): Oval, egg-shaped, with a tapering point
  • Palmate (palmata): Divided into many lobes
  • Pedate (pedata): Palmate, with cleft lobes
  • Peltate (peltata): Rounded, stem underneath
  • Perfoliate (perfoliata): Stem through the leaves
  • Pinnate (pinnata): Two rows of leaflets
    • odd-pinnate, imparipinnate: pinnate with a terminal leaflet
    • paripinnate, even-pinnate: pinnate lacking a terminal leaflet
    • pinnatifid and pinnatipartite: leaves with pinnate lobes that are not discrete, remaining sufficiently connected to each other that they are not separate leaflets.
    • bipinnate, twice-pinnate: the leaflets are themselves pinnately-compound
    • tripinnate, thrice-pinnate: the leaflets are themselves bipinnate
    • tetrapinnate: the leaflets are themselves tripinnate.
  • Pinnatisect (pinnatifida): Cut, but not to the midrib (it would be pinnate then)
  • Reniform (reniformis): Kidney-shaped
  • Rhomboid (rhomboidalis): Diamond-shaped
  • Round (rotundifolia): Circular
  • Sagittate (sagittata): Arrowhead-shaped
  • Spatulate, spathulate (spathulata): Spoon-shaped
  • Spear-shaped (hastata): Pointed, with barbs
  • Subulate (subulata): Awl-shaped with a tapering point
  • Sword-shaped (ensiformis): Long, thin, pointed
  • Trifoliate, ternate (trifoliata): Divided into three leaflets
  • Tripinnate (tripinnata): Pinnately compound in which each leaflet is itself bipinnate
  • Truncate (truncata): With a squared off end
  • Unifoliate (unifoliata): with a single leaf


palmate in German: Blattform
palmate in Spanish: Forma de hojas
palmate in French: Forme foliaire
palmate in Macedonian: Облици на лист
palmate in Dutch: Bladvorm
palmate in Polish: Kształt liścia
palmate in Tonga (Tonga Islands): Fakaloupata
palmate in Turkish: Yaprak türleri
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