The endogenous trans-acting small interfering RNA (ta-siRNA) pathway plays a conserved role in adaxial-abaxial patterning of lateral organs in simple-leafed plant species. However, its function in compound-leafed species is largely unknown. Using the compound-leafed species Lotus japonicus, we identified and characterized two independent mutants, reduced leaflet1 (rel1) and rel3, whose most conspicuous defects in compound leaves are abaxialized leaflets and reduction in leaflet number. Concurrent mutations in REL genes also compromise flower development and result in radial symmetric floral organs. Positional cloning revealed that REL1 and REL3 encode the homologs of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) SUPPRESSOR OF GENE SILENCING3 and ARGONAUTE7/ZIPPY, respectively, which are key components of the ta-siRNA pathway. These observations, together with the expression and functional data, demonstrated that the ta-siRNA pathway plays conserved yet distinct roles in the control of compound leaf and flower development in L. japonicus. Moreover, the phenotypic alterations of lateral organs in ta-siRNA-deficient mutants and the regulation of downstream targets by the ta-siRNA pathway in L. japonicus were similar to those in the monocots but different from Arabidopsis, indicating many parallels between L. japonicus and the monocots in the control of lateral organ development by the ta-siRNA pathway.