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Ecological and Systematic Wood Anatomy of Alstonia (Apocynaceae)

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The wood anatomy is described of three sections of the genus Alstonia: sections Alstonia, Monuraspermum, and Dissuraspermum. The wood anatomical characters support the infrageneric classification on the basis of macropmorphological and pollen morphological features (Sidiyasa 1998). Vessel frequency, mean tangential vessel diameter, LID ratio, ray frequency, presence or absence of laticifers, parenchyma distribution, fibre wall thickness, and fibre wall pitting are all, in various degrees, diagnostic to separate the light Alstonia timber group (= section Alstonia) from the heavy Alstonia group (including the other two sections studied). Sections Monuraspermum and Dissuraspermum can be separated on vessel frequency and mean tangential vessel diameter. Among the light Alstonia group, the swamp inhabiting species have lower multi seriate rays than the non-swamp species which presumably root in well-aerated soils. Vessel elements and fibres also tend to be shorter in material from swamps, but this difference is not statistically significant. This tendency is perhaps associated with the physiological drought induced by water-logged soils.


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