What is the difference between phylloclade and cladode?
Phylloclades are cladodes, i.e., flattened, photos ynthetic shoots, which are modified branches. Phylloclades are cladodes that greatly resemble or perform the function of leaves, as in Butcher's broom as well as Asparagus and Phyllanthus species. Phyllocladus, a genus of conifer, is named after these structures. Phylloclades have been identified in fossils dating from as early as the Permian.
Botanical illustration of Ruscus aculeatusshowing leaf-like phylloclades
Cladodes are not leaves but swollen water-storing stem segments. In cladodes the leaves are often modified intospines, the function of spines is protection as well as to reduce transpiration. Axillary buds are modified into thin short and greenish structures. and cuticle is an outer covering which is present for preventing transpiration.
A cladode is a stem modified for photosynthesis that looks like a leaf. It is flat for increasing the surface area, thick for storing water and green for photosynthesis.
To identify and distinguish a phylloclade from a true leaf it is necessary to the observe the vegetative shoot, on which leaves are still present small or scale-like, and the leaves of these species (if present) are ephemeral and soon abscise(e.g. Opuntia).
A phylloclade is a flattened stem of several internodes functioning as a leaf. In Opuntia the stem is modified into a green flattened structure called Phylloclade.
A phylloclade of one or two internode is called as a cladode. There are no suitable examples of cladodes because, Ruscus and Asparagus, which are often considered as cladodes, are in reality, cladophylls. A cladophyll is a flattened leaf like stem arising in the axils of a minute, bract-like, true leaf.