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Fibre Length Variation in Stem and Branches of Eleven Tropical Hardwoods

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Variation in fibre length within the tree, including branches, has been studied in eleven tropical Indian hardwoods growing in Kerala. Branch fibres were significantly shorter than stem fibres. Cashew had the shortest fibres (900/μm) and dillenia had the longest fibres (> 1600/μm) while the remaining woods had medium-length fibres (900-1600/μm). The most common pattern of radial variation was an initial increase in fibre length which reached a maximum and then decreased toward the bark. However, the radial pattern of variation often differed not only between species but also between levels within the tree of certain species. Fibre length followed a nearly linear increase in branches from the pith to the bark indicating juvenile growth. In the axial direction mean fibre length decreased from the base of the stem or branch to 50% and 75% of the stem or branch length.


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