An unusual formation of tension wood in a natural forest Acacia sp.

W.E. Hillis, R. Evans,  and R. Washusen


The determination of microfibril angle (MFA), cellulose crystallite width and microdensity by SilviScan-2 at CSIRO confirmed that several dark bands in the heartwood of an Acacia species were associated with tension wood (TW) fibres. The straight log was taken from a tree of about 30 years of age that had been apparently growing vertically as there were no signs of the usual stimuli for TW formation. The continuous dark bands of about 5 mm width extended radially from the inner heartwood in a spiral pattern and were separated by continuous normal wood bands of similar width. The TW bands continued in the sapwood from the heartwood boundary to the cambium but were not coloured. The dark colour of the TW was probably caused by extractives being polymerised at the heartwood boundary by enzymes in the TW fibres in the sapwood. The MFA and cellulose crystallite width indicated the TW in a band was of similar intensity throughout its length, indicating similar microstructural characteristics at different cambial ages. The initiation of spiral grain formation occurs before that of tension wood in the Acacia samples studied.

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Holzforschung is an international scholarly journal that publishes cutting-edge research on the biology, chemistry, physics and technology of wood and wood components. High quality papers about biotechnology and tree genetics are also welcome. Rated year after year as one of the top scientific journals in the category of Pulp and Paper (ISI Journal Citation Index), Holzforschung represents innovative, high quality basic and applied research.