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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Hura crepitans L., H. polyandra Baill. (Possum wood, habillo)

Nomenclature etc. EUPHORBIACEAE. Trade and local names: hura (trade); habillo, jabillo (MX). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 8 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America to tropical South America.

General. Heartwood basically brown to yellow white or grey (pale yellowish brown or pale olive gray). Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.35–0.4 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows or radial rows of 4 or more. Average tangential vessel diameter 99–236 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–5. Average vessel element length 455–575 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 13–18 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Tyloses in vessels present.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1010–1333 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, distinctly bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 6–8 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract fluorescent, or not fluorescent (very light blue); basically yellow or shade of yellow. Ethanol extract rarely fluorescent ((very light blue)). Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown.

Illustrations. • Tree. Hura polyandra tree at pacific coast in Mexico. • Macro images. Hura polyandra. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Hura crepitans. • Tangential section. Hura crepitans. • Radial section. Hura crepitans.


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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