Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wood Collectors?

Wood Collectors primarily collect samples of plants from the group of seed plants, Spermatophytes. This can be either softwood (Gymnosperms) and hardwood (Angiosperms)

Wood however, is composed of various types of tissue, which wood collectors should be able to recognize and name in order to assign a particular species. Tissue which occurs abundantly in one species and is an important feature, can be completely absent in a different species. To see the right features, to name and describe them, is the most important for determination. The recognition of wood types can be done, among others, by the study of micro preparations.

Micro preparations of wood are thin slices of wood of 10-15 microns thick, cut into 3 planes:

a) In the transverse plane for example, the vessels, the distribution of vessels, the type and the distribution of the parenchyma (ground tissue), the number of rays per mm and the thickness of the fiber wall can be seen.

b) In the tangential plane, the height and structure of the rays, the type of fiber, and the axial parenchyma can be observed.

c) The radial plane is showing the height and build-up of the rays, the composition of the rays, the kind of fibers and the specks of the intersection fields, vessel walls, and fibers.

Learning the determination of wood is easier in a group than alone. Discussions in a group about what you see and if you interpret it correctly, gives better results than if you do this only by yourself. Practice makes perfect, without repetition and practice, determination continues to be tricky business.

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