New Canadian $20 note
New Canadian $20 note that critics claim shows the wrong type of maple leaf

The Bank of Canada has emblazoned its new plastic banknotes with the wrong type of maple leaf, according to botanists.

Sean Blaney, botanist with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, claims the $20, $50, and $100 dollar bills, which came into circulation last November, contain an image of what he claims is a Norwegian maple, instead of the North American sugar maple that is native to the continent.

"The maple leaf (on the currency) is the wrong species," he told Reuters.

He said that the leaf shown on the note has more sections and more pointed sections, in common with the Norwegian species.

The Bank of Canada however has denied the charges, responding that the design shows a 'stylised maple leaf', amalgamating the several types found in the country and was created with the help of an expert.

Critics, however, are not convinced.

"I think it's just an after-the-fact excuse," said Mr Blaney.

Other botanists lent their support.

"This could not be confused with a native species of Canada, it basically looks like a Norway maple," Professor Julian Starr of the University of Ottawa told CBC News.

Though not native to North America, the Norway maple has spread through central and eastern Canada since being introduced to the continent from Europe in the 18th century.

"It's a species that's displacing some of our native species, and it's probably not an appropriate species to be putting on our native currency," Blaney added to CBC News.

Critics claim the Bank of Canada is not alone, with Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, the Canadian Television Fund and perhaps most surprisingly the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada all making erros with the maple leaf on their logo.

This is not the first furore surrounding the new notes after the Bank of Canada was accused of racism after removing an image of an Asian-looking woman from the new $100 bills last August.

Many also claim the bills do not work in many vending machines.