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Whoa Canada! New Currency Has 'Wrong' Maple Leaf?

That's not the right leaf, botanists say.
Bank of Canada
That's not the right leaf, botanists say.

A hubbub's been building up north for the past week or so about the maple leaf on Canada's new $20 bills.

Botanists say, as the CBC reports, that it's a leaf from the invasive Norway maple, not the familiar sugar maple that turns nice and red in the fall and graces the nation's flag. The clue: the leaf on the bill has five major lobes, not the three you see on the flag's red leaf.

The Canadian flag and its familiar leaf.
/ Canadian Heritage
/
Canadian Heritage
The Canadian flag and its familiar leaf.

"It's rather sad. It's not the first time that it's happened," Julian Starr, a botany professor at the University of Ottawa, tells Toronto's Globe and Mail. "It's almost Canadian in the fact that we can't even get our symbols right."

Asked about what happened, eh, the Bank of Canada tells New Scientist that the image is a "stylized blend" of the various maples that grow in the country.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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