The pinnate leaves of Leucosidea sericea are pale blue-green on this well-foliated branch-tip in winter. The leaf colour may also be dark green. Leaflets grow in opposite pairs from the rachis. The under-surfaces of the leaflets are grey-green and covered in silky hairs.
The leaflet margins are deeply and acutely toothed, creating the impression that the tree is halfway between pinnate and bipinnate in leaf structure. Caught in “evolutionary indecision” or still on the move to something else?
Leaflet midribs and the narrow leaflet lobes are grooved, seen from above. Leaflet upper surfaces are rough around the grooves.
A complex blend of chemical substances occurs in leaves (and other parts) of all plants growing on earth. These are uniquely selected elements and compounds from the environment and concocted organically in the growth of each species. Many of these chemical compounds have been important in the medicines made from plant material by healers, ancient, traditional and modern.
Unique plant scents result from some of the substances produced in plants. The aromas range from beguiling fragrances bringing about happy moods to foul odours. All the plant smells may contribute to species identification.
It may have been the scent that attracted the unknown ancient with high curiosity to try something for a sick relative. Never dreaming of calling it science... no such word known or necessary in the days when magic and superstition were still sacred. More serious for patient (or experimenter) was the outcome of the trial application of plant parts in untold concoctions.
After all this, only that the leaves of L. sericea exude a strong scent when crushed. They also play their part in traditional medicine (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).