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A Survey of Buttresses and Aerial Roots of Tropical Trees for Presence of Reaction Wood

Jack B. Fisher
Biotropica
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 1982), pp. 56-61
DOI: 10.2307/2387760
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2387760
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Survey of Buttresses and Aerial Roots of Tropical Trees for Presence of Reaction Wood
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Abstract

Wood from buttresses of 48 species in 20 families of tropical trees was examined microscopically for the presence of reaction wood (RW), indicated by gelatinous fibers in place of normal wood fibers. Only Eschweilera (Lecythidaceae), Derris (Fabaceae), and three spp. of Ficus (Moraceae) had RW All other species, including one specimen of Guarea (Meliaceae) in which the buttress was under tension due to a leaning trunk, had normal wood structure. Wood from aerial roots, including stilt roots and flying buttresses, of 18 species in six families was similarly examined. A cylinder of well-developed RW occurred in aerial roots of nine species of Ficus and in stilt roots of Cecropia (Moraceae) Reaction wood also occurred on the upper side of stilt roots of Cecropia and Pourouma (Urticaceae) Contraction of the aerial roots of Ficus is related to RW However, although RW has been correlated with stresses in the wood of trunks and branches of many trees, RW cannot be related generally to a supportive role of buttresses in which stresses have been postulated previously.

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