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Wood Identification of Commercially Important North American Species of Birch (Betula)

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The wood anatomy was studied of the four commercially important North American species of birch: Betula alleghaniensis, B. lenta, B. nigra, and B. papyrijera. Although the wood from these species is fairly homogeneous, it appears that B. papyrijera can be separated from B. nigra; B. alleghaniensis and B. lenta, though indistinguishable from each other, can be separated from both B. papyrijera and B. nigra. The diagnostic features are as follows: ray width, ray and ray cell shape as viewed on the tangential longitudinal section, average number of bars per perforation plate, and contents of axial parenchyma cells. In addition to these species, two commercially important European species (B. pendula and B. pubescens) and two additional North American tree species (B. occidentalis and B. populijolia) were studied. A dichotomous key to all eight species is presented.


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