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Wood anatomy and technological properties of an endangered species: Picconia Azorica (Oleaceae)

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Picconia azorica (Tutin) Knobl. is an Azorean endemic species of the Oleaceae, exploited over centuries and recently classified as endangered. It suffers from reduction and fragmentation of its habitat, and from competition with exotic species. Wood anatomy was examined and compared with Picconia excelsa, enhancing our knowledge about the genus Picconia which contains only these two species. Macroscopic and technological characterizations by colour, pH, wood density, compression and bending strengths, shrinkages, static quality factor, ash content and Higher Heating Value were investigated and compared with other Oleaceae and other hardwoods. At the anatomical level, P. azorica does not differ from P. excelsa, except for the number of vessels and rays per mm2 and the ray type. The technological features support the profitable use of P. azorica for the furniture industry instead of biomass production. Because of its valuable wood, P. azorica might be reconsidered and its properties emphasized to combat the species’ decline and to encourage the restoration of its habitat.


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