Old and Young Leaves on Plane Trees

William Y. C. Chen, Emeric Deutsch, and Sergi Elizalde

  Abstract:   A leaf of a plane tree is called an old leaf if it is the leftmost child of its parent, and it is called a young leaf otherwise. In this paper we enumerate plane trees with a given number of old leaves and young leaves. The formula is obtained combinatorially by presenting two bijections between plane trees and 2-Motzkin paths which map young leaves to red horizontal steps, and old leaves to up steps plus one. We derive some implications to the enumeration of restricted permutations with respect to certain statistics such as pairs of consecutive deficiencies, double descents, and ascending runs. Finally, our main bijection is applied to obtain refinements of two identities of Coker, involving refined Narayana numbers and the Catalan numbers.