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Two trees of radiata pine, one showing severe lean, the other growing almost vertically, were assessed for the presence and anatomical properties of compression wood, including anatomy, lignin distribution, microfibril angle, basic density, radial and tangential lumen diameter and cell wall thickness. Both trees contained significant amounts of compression wood although the severity and amount of compression wood was greater in the leaning tree. Changes in lignin distribution seem to be characteristic of the mildest forms of compression wood with reduced lignification of the middle lamella representing the earliest change observed from normal wood. An increase in microfibril angle was associated with both mild and severe compression wood although examples of severe compression wood with the same or smaller microfibril angles than opposite wood, or with very small microfibril angles, were found. When segregated into mild and severe compression wood the average difference in microfibril angle was 4° and 8° respectively compared with opposite wood. Within-ring distribution of microfibril angle was different in severe compression wood compared to opposite wood with higher angles in the latewood.Severe compression wood showed a 22% increase in basic density compared to mild compression wood and opposite wood. The increased density was accounted for in terms of a 26% increase in tracheid wall thickness throughout the growth ring, offset by a 9% increase in radial lumen diameter, slightly greater in the latewood. There were no significant changes in density or cell dimensions in mild compression wood compared with opposite wood.


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