For the identification of small to large wood samples and various types of composites that may not provide enough of all surfaces necessary to reveal diagnostic characteristics, such as sawdust, decayed wood fragments, archeological wood, and even large wood samples, morphological and anatomical characteristics of vessels are very useful. In this research, morphological and anatomical characteristics of vessels of important Iranian hardwoods which are concentrated in the Hyrcanian zone have been studied and photographed. Wood chips (match size) were placed in equal parts of glacial acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide and were put in the oven at 60°C for 48 hours, then counted and stained on microscope slides. The results showed that identification of many wood genera via morphological and anatomical characteristics of vessel elements in the maceration process is feasible but much depends on practice and experience. Spiral thickening, perforation plates, apparent shape and size of vessel elements, and vessel-ray pits are most important characteristics in the identification of wood genera. Inter-vessel pits or vessel-fiber pitting cannot be as helpful as the above features. We strongly recommend that all wood anatomists use macerated vessel morphological and anatomical characteristics as anatomical features in their description.
Hardwood identification; Maceration process; Vessel element shapes; Vessel-ray pits