I need one word (if there is any) for "seemingly small but very important".
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closed as not a real question by RegDwigнt♦ Jun 10 '13 at 10:44
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A keystone is a single (usually small) element within a larger system which is required for that system to function correctly.
Although the term originated in architecture, it's used metaphorically in other fields. For example, a keystone species is a "species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance".
Well, it's hyphenated, but does "innocent-looking" meet your needs? It's often used suggestively, & combined with a testimonial to that thing's importance/potency.
There's "linchpin", suggestive of something small that holds everything else together.
Another sense, used often in engineering & in the military, is the idea of a "single-point failure", connoting an inappropriate level of operational significance placed on a fragile or non-redundant component.