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Ray Structure Differences between Rootwood and Stemwood in a Range of Softwood Species

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Differences between the ray structure of rootwood and stemwood were analysed in 11 species from 5 families of gymnosperms. Rootwood was consistently found to have fewer ray tracheids, with ray parenchyma cells which were taller axially, wider tangentially, but shorter radially, and had more pits per cross-field than stemwood. A scale for quantifying types of cross-field pitting is proposed, and statistically significant differences in type and diameter of cross-field pitting were found between rootwood and stemwood of most species sampled. These structural differences have practical implications for identification of gymnosperm roots, and for distinguishing between rootwood and stemwood.


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