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Growth strains and related wood structures in the leaning trunks and branches of trochodendron aralioides - a vessel-less dicotyledon

Kuo-Huang, Ling-Long, Chen, Shin-Shin, Huang, Yan-San, Chen, Shiang-Jiuun, Hsieh, Yi-In
Trochodendron aralioides, bending stress, branches, tension wood, tracheids, trees, wood
Leaning trunks and branches of Trochodendron aralioides Sieb. & Zucc., a primitive vessel-less dicotyledon, show increased radial growth and gelatinous fibers on the upper side similar to the features found in dicotyledons with vessels. The patterns of peripheral longitudinal growth strain are variable among trees but similar at different heights within the same leaning trunk. Growth strains on the lower side of the trunks are very small but they are relatively large on the lower side of the branches. Growth stress in the branches is partly affected by the gravitational bending stress, which would be exerted mostly on the lower side. Large spring back strains of branches are associated with large surface strains. Both the microfibril angle (MFA) and the percentage area of gelatinous fiber show positive relationships with the measured strains. The MFA of the S² wall layer in tracheids in the opposite wood is 24.6 ± 2.2°, whereas the MFA of gelatinous layer in the tension wood is only 14.2 ± 2.7°. The difference of MFA between the gelatinous fibers and the opposite wood is one of the factors accounting for the large contracting force for reorientation.