Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Carpinus betulus L. (Hainbuche, hornbeam)

Nomenclature etc. BETULACEAE. Trade and local names: Hainbuche, Weißbuche, Hagebuche, Hornbaum (DE), charme commun (FR), common hornbeam (GB), haagebeuke (NL), carpino bianco (IT), habr obecny (CZ), grab (PL), carpen (RO), votbok (SE), gyertýn (HU). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically yellow to white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.5–0.79–0.82 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessel diameter continuously decreasing from earlywood to latewood. Average tangential vessel diameter 52–68–88 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 20–50. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 9–11 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, located throughout the ray or restricted to marginal rows. Helical thickenings present, only in narrow vessel elements (latewood), throughout the body of vessel elements. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 880–1800 µm. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, simple to minutely bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays 14–18 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2 cells wide (within aggregates also some 3–4 seriate rays). Aggregate rays present. Rays of two distinct sizes. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells. Crystal-containing ray cells procumbent. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Crystal containing cells enlarged (idioblasts). Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Carpinus betulus. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Carpinus betulus. • Tangential section. Carpinus betulus. • Radial section. Carpinus betulus. Inset: single crystal in enlarged ray cell.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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