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KNOTTEDI-like homeobox (KNOXI) genes regulate development of the leaf from the shoot apical meristem (SAM) and may regulate leaf form. We examined KNOXI expression in SAMs of various vascular plants and found that KNOXI expression correlated with complex leaf primordia. However, complex primordia may mature into simple leaves. Therefore, not all simple leaves develop similarly, and final leaf morphology may not be an adequate predictor of homology.