'Wrong' maple leaf on Canadian banknotes

The new Canadian 20 dollar bill made of polymer is displayed at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa 2 May 2012

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Canada's new plastic banknotes feature Norway maple leaves, instead of the Canadian sugar maple leaf, according to botanists.

They argue the leaf shown features more sections and has a more pointed outline than the Canadian version.

The maple leaf is featured on the new C$20 (£13), C$50 and C$100 notes, which were introduced in November.

Bank of Canada officials say the image is a "stylised" leaf, created with the help of a botanist.

"I think it's just an after-the-fact excuse," said Sean Blaney, senior botanist at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, who first brought the image to the attention of the broadcaster CBC.

The Norway maple, however, is a popular tree in central and eastern Canada, after being imported from Europe.

"It has naturalised to Canada," Mr Blaney said.

"This could not be confused with a native species of Canada," Julian Starr, a botany professor at the University of Ottawa, told the CBC.

The leaf on Canada's flag is stylised, but in such a way that it still looks like the native species, Mr Starr later told CTV.

In August, the Bank of Canada apologised for removing an image of an "Asian-looking" woman from the design of the new $100 bank note.

The polymer banknotes have also faced criticism for not working in many vending machines

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