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Radial and Tangential Diameter Variation of Wood Cells Within Trees of Acer Pseudoplatanus

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Variations in wood cell shape within trees of Acer pseudoplatanus are described. Across growth rings the ratio of radial to tangential vessel diameter was greatest at about mid-ring, possibly associated with potential for expansion offered by the width of the cambial zone. Down sterns the ratio of radial to tangential diameter of fibres and vessels was greatest towards the tip and base of the tree. Along branches the ratio of radial to tangential vessel diameter decreased from tip to base. This variation in cell shape down sterns and branches appeared to be due to more rapid changes in tangential than radial cell diameter. It is suggested that variation in tangential fibre diameter resulted from variation in tangential diameter of cambial initials, and tangential expansion of vessels may have arisen from curvature of radial walls. The possible adaptive advantage to trees of reduced vessel diameter at the base of sterns and branches is discussed.


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