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One way of assessing the functional significance of wood-anatomical variables is by examining the relationships among these variables. This paper presents results of factor analysis of wood variables in two species of ring-porous trees (Quercus rubra and Fraxinus americana). Factor analysis of vessel diameter and density, conductive area, and conductivity in the early- and latewood plus width of the early- and Iatewood increment reveals from three to four independent sources of variance. Generally, these can be characterized as diameter-related factors in the early- and latewood, tentatively related to water conduction, and a factor identified with width of the latewood increment and density of the Iatewood vessels, which may be a generalized representation of growth. Individual correlations among the variables show that variation in ring width is almost entirely variation in width of the Iatewood portion of the ring and that ring width (or latewood width) varies with the Iatewood characteristics (being positively correlated with vessel diameter and inversely correlated with vessel density). Vessel diameter and density are inversely correlated, but only in the latewood.

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© 1990 D. W. Woodcock

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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