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Differences in the ultrastructure of their large warts allow white cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla) to be distinguished from black cypress pine (C. endlicheri)

Heady, R. D., Cunningham, R. B., Evans, P. D.
Wood science and technology 2008 v.42 no.4 pp. 313-323
Callitris glaucophylla, heartwood, ultrastructure, warts, wood
White cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla) wood is durable enough to be used outdoors, but occasionally there are reports of its premature failure in ground contact, which may be due to its substitution by the less durable species, black cypress pine (C. endlicheri). It has been difficult to prove this, however, because the woods of both species are very similar in structure and cannot be separated using conventional anatomical features. This study examined whether differences in the size and morphology of warts on tracheid walls in the two species could be used to identify them. There were significant differences in the height, width and shape of warts in the two species, but there was considerable overlap in the distribution of these parameters between specimens. Warts in C. endlicheri were more likely to be bent-over near their tops than those in C. glaucophylla, and the angle bending of warts was greater in C. endlicheri. Quantification of these parameters produced complete separation of multiple specimens of the two species, and could potentially be used to help determine whether premature failure of C. glaucophylla heartwood in ground contact is the result of its substitution by C. endlicheri. More generally it can be concluded that the morphology of large warts may have taxonomic value in identifying coniferous wood species beyond the generic level.